Complex marketing technology ecosystems are now being implemented with a wide variety of technology tools, disparate data, and talent made up of cross-matrixed teams, alliance partners, IT departments, and solution integration points both locally and globally. Organizations require more integration, more collaboration, and positive outcomes to drive their marketing needs.
To ensure your overall solution investment will deliver as promised, you need someone on your side to think on behalf of your business needs with the expertise to avoid the pitfalls before they happen. This introduces the need for a program manager.
Program management is often an afterthought, usually after something impactful has happened within an implementation that most likely could have been avoided if someone was watching out for it. By maximizing program management from the start of your implementation, you avoid heartache, wasted spend, and lost time. In this case, “when you snooze, you lose” is true and is not a laughing matter.
Fundamentally, program managers will always be looking at the bigger picture (a panoramic view) and provide oversight, governance, risk mitigation, and support across all the project-level activities, teams, and partners to ensure the overall program goals are met that comprise your overall ecosystem. A program manager should lead:
This means you will have a single point of contact for accountability. Program managers provide oversight and accountability for your customer-centricity-focused program deliverables and success measures.
You will not have to worry; your program manager is doing that for you. They are constantly evaluating and scanning across the program for leading indicators that might trigger conflicts or issues, manifest risks, or raise any scope concerns.
Your program manager should deliver effective, timely communications using an established set of standards, templates, policies, and procedures to you or other key stakeholders during the program when you need it and at the level you need the information.
You will have someone managing the overall complexity, timing, and intricate interdependencies of the program. I like to refer to this as scaled governance.
3. Risk Mitigation & Support
A program manager gives you an extended member of the team who is supporting your overall program success. Someone who is focused on identifying and mitigating program-level or inter-project risks and impediments that could create roadblocks for overall success. Your program manager will support integration and collaboration across internal and external teams including agency or strategic partners locally or globally. It is the program manager’s job to have the healthy paranoia to look at and question everything from a program perspective.
In summary, program management is a key role to success when you are implementing a complex marketing technology or data management ecosystem. Program management adds oversight, scaled governance, and the ability to manage risks that plague complex initiatives and implementations. With many technology implementations, this is a lesson learned too late in the project. Consider including a program manager in your team dynamics from the beginning to deliver quick value and avoid costly mistakes later.
Want to learn more? Check out Merkle’s other martech blog posts here.