The views expressed in this article are strictly those of Max Wideman.
The contents of the book under review are the copyright property of the author.
Published here May 2016

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked
Downside | Summary


With the exception of the Project Management Institute's The Standard for Program Management, not one of the books in our library is devoted entirely to Program Management. But now the time has come. In this latest book for review: Program Management,[1] Author Michel Thiry has dedicated his entire book to this discipline, based on his more than 30 years working in, and developing, this subject area. But for us, this is a groundbreaking experience.

According to Michel, the definition of Program Management could be labeled as:[2]

"The governance and harmonized management of a number of projects and other actions to achieve targeted benefits and create value for the program sponsors in the short-term, change recipients in the medium-term and the organization in the long-term."

So, assuming that we know what "governance and harmonized management" mean, Michel then states:[3]

"Programs, by definition, constitute the missing link between the executive level strategy and the projects and operations that will enable it to deliver value."


"Program Management has emerged as a distinct discipline in the late twentieth century"


"According to a number of recent surveys, executing strategies to realize value is one of the failures of today's management and optimizing the use of resources to achieve this is even more of an issue"

Moreover, as Michel observes:[6]

"Project Managers lack the proficiency and/or capability to understand or question strategic language and are often not aware of the expected benefits."


"The purpose of this book is to make executives, managers, students or academics understand the issues that arise from the practice of Program Management and be able to, not only perform it, but also implement it sustainably in their organizations."
"This book is meant to represent a wide variety of program management practice and not be tied to any particular standard."

We might add that this is no small order given the internal politics that inevitably exist anywhere you have significant numbers of people involved, such as in large organizations.

The book is well written in a clear style. Part III is definitely academic in flavor and may be heavy reading for some. However, overall the book is relieved by being well illustrated with tables and diagrams. In our opinion, the author has set out sound advice that readers should find both reliable and realistic.

About the author[8]

"Michel Thiry has an MSc in Organizational Behaviour with the School of Management and Organizational Behaviour at the University of London and is currently pursuing a PhD at Middlesex University. He is a Fellow of both PMI and the Association for Project Management."

"Michel is founder and managing partner of Valense Ltd, an international consultancy and Education Network and PMI Global Registered Education Provider (REP). He has over 35 years worldwide professional experience, has worked in many cultural environments, and is recognized as a worldwide authority in strategic applications of project, program and value."


1. Thiry, Michel, Program Management, Gower Publishing Limited, printed in the UK by Henry Ling Limited, at the Dorset Press, Dorchester, 2015
2. Ibid, p4
3. Ibid, p1
4. Ibid, p3
5. Ibid, p1
6. Ibid, p1
7. Ibid, p1
8. Ibid, back cover.
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