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How to develop a project programme

Updated: Mar 9, 2021


How to develop a project programme


A master project programme your key tool in the delivery of your project.


It will allow those involved in the project understand both their individual and team roles and the actions needed to maintain the programme delivery.


Having someone with knowledge of how to build a meaningful programme and who can identify the timeframes to meet your objectives on the project delivery is key.


How do you start?


When developing a master project programme, it may sound obvious, but you need to identify a start, a middle and an end of the programme.


It is important to realise what needs to be done at each of these stages as well as the priorities for the project delivery and each of these parts could influence other areas of the programme.


To give an example, assume you have a lease end amd need to exit a space by a certain date. Ideally this end date should be your main focus on the development of the programme and should therefore be built backwards from that date.


If you need to commence the project immediately due to pressures and an end date is not critical, then you can build the programme from the start and anlyse the end date to see if it has no baring on the business needs.


If there is a particular event that needs to occur part way through the process, then that date becomes your critical element, and the programme should be built in both directions towards the start and end dates in order to delever that critical element.


Therefore having clarity around key delivery factors will help you to develop the programme.


What are the key items for an office fit out programme?


There are several factors to consider and there may be a certain set of circumstances particular to your project. However the one which you will need to identify early, regardless of any other factors, is the phone line installation date.

  • Phoneline instrallation - phone line istallations can take a long time and are key to the operation of any modern day office. You need to identify the dates when your phones lines will be live into your building

  • The start of your new lease – your lease will commence at an agreed date and it is from this date that your fit out works can commence. It is therefore critical to put into place all the design and tendering elements that need to be addressed to optimise the best date to start on site

  • The end of your existing lease - this may influence certain decissions on the programme and how the project is procured

  • Design timetable - you will need to decide how you plan to design your project and if this is with independant designers or through a turnkey design & build team as each will have a different effect on your programme

  • Your project procurment options - you will need to decide on the best procurment of your team for the project. From designers to project managers, from contractors to furniture suppliers. There are may different ways that these can be procured and each will have a varying affect on the way the programe is developed

  • Equipment and furniture delivery - these items may have a long lead in periods to arrive on site from your placement of order. You should programme in the early phases of material selection, design and costs and ensure that your order is placed in good time to arrive when it is needed on site

As you can see the development of a project programme has to consider a number of critical elements and is more than a few lines on a page and linking them together.


It needs the coordination of many factors and should be developed by someone who understands the impact of these and can advise you how to optimise the programme.

So, what happens if the dates don’t meet with my expectations?


There will be occasions when building your programme with its start, middle and end still means that the programme delivery dates do not meet the dates your expectations.


This is where your project manager will be able to advise the options open to you.


As your adviser they will be able to analyse the programme, realise the key delivery factors, review your procurement and explain the options open to you.


What is a critical path?


In most programmes there will be one or several critical paths to consider.


This critical path will be a line that runs through the programme and picks up the key elements that are all crtitcally linked to meet the end date.


Because they are linked, if one of these critical elements fails to meet its target, it can affect the other parts and potentially the delevery of the project.


It is therefore essential to identify the critical path and, the management of the critical path should be the responsibility of all parties invovled on the project.


What are Milestones


Your programme should include milestone points which identifies when a particular series of actions are marked as complete - by the inclusion of a milestone marker.


These typically come at the end of a section of work – for example the appointment of a contractor may have the tendering process and interview stages running through to their appointment at which point a milestone has been reached.


Placing milestones on your programme, and having them as achievements along the path of the programme, is generally good practice, and helps the team involved understand that everyone has to complete their individual part of the programme.


If you want to discuss how Quantile Project Management can assist with your project, then please do get in contract via our website links.

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