This paper addresses the factors involved in effectively implementing a world-class program/project management information system funded by multiple nations. Along with many other benefits, investing in and utilizing such systems improves delivery and drive accountability for major expenditures. However, there are an equally large number of impediments to developing and using such systems. To be successful, the process requires a dynamic combining of elements and strategic sequencing of initiatives. While program/project-management systems involve information technologies, software and hardware, they represent only one element of the overall system. Technology, process, people and knowledge must all be integrated and working in concert with one another to assure a fully capable system. Major system implementations occur infrequently, and frequently miss established targets in relatively small organizations (with the risk increasing with greater complexity). The European Bank of Reconstruction (EBRD) is midway through just such an implementation. The EBRD is using funds from numerous donor countries to sponsor development of an overarching program management system. The system will provide the Russian Federation with the tools to effectively manage prioritizing, planning, and physically decommissioning assets in northwest Russia to mitigate risks associated the Soviet era nuclear submarine program. Project-management delivery using world-class techniques supported by aligned systems has been proven to increase the probability of delivering on-time and on-budget, assuring those funding such programs optimum value for money. However, systems deployed to manage multi-laterally funded projects must be developed with appropriate levels of consideration given to unique aspects such as: accommodation of existing project management methods, consideration for differences is management structures and organizational behaviors, incorporation of unique strengths, and subtle adjustment to compensate weaknesses. This paper addresses the architecture and sequencing of implementation. A properly designed program/project-management system provides necessary tools for those planning the program as a whole, as well as those tasked with delivering individual projects. It also provides a communication framework to transfer information to parties on the funding side of the equation. Aligned program and project management methods are key to making the overall effort effective. Ultimately, progress and transparency are essential outcomes that help to sustain funding and mitigate major funding fluctuations that create havoc for any project. A solid program-management system must provide donor countries the ability to know what is to be accomplished, how much it should cost, and over what period of time, as well as provide adequate transparency into how much is being accomplished at any given point in time. Prioritization, funding, transparency, politics, and many other considerations come into play when dealing with challenges that take decades to overcome. These issues exist for most programs, but the situation becomes even more complex when dealing in a multi-lateral framework. Project management methods and systems relate directly to program level ones and underpin the higher level program system. Before continuing, it is important to summarize the distinctions between program and project management. Program management primarily incorporates efforts relating to the identifying what is to be done over a long time horizon involving multiple projects. Project management, in contrast, generally embodies the efforts of how identified scope shall be done. Many of the efforts performed in each are similar and the distinction between programs and large projects in particular are often blurred. In general, the environment that a program manager deals with involves more uncertainty than a project manager. The essential point, however, is that a program consisting of perfectly sequenced and executed projects can still fail to provide the desired benefit if the overall program strategy is flawed or fails to adequately communicate the vision to the many lower-tier managers involved on individual projects.

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