Program and Project Management

ODS offers full life cycle management, adapting to meet organizational needs for scalability, innovation, security, accessibility, usability, and compliance.

At ODS, we work for you. Nowhere is this more apparent than our approach to Program and Project Management. Our management teams are well versed in both disciplines, and we assign a program manager to assist every project manager. We ensure the command principles of C4I are met not just at the project level, but also at the critical program level. This facilitates and streamlines forward planning and operational control within command structures, while still allowing individual project managers the necessary flexibility to adapt to and overcome challenges as they present themselves. This flexibility is key to the adaptability ODS brings to our projects.

Traditional military command structures have a great deal of similarity to project and program management structures. This is because the functionality of civilian management groups was largely copied from those used in military organizations. However, military organizations are generally run quite differently than their civilian counterparts. Military officers bear direct responsibility for the lives of those under their command. People can die when a military officer makes mistakes. In contrast, civilian project managers are responsible for material or financial performance. No one generally loses their life due to poor civilian management of a project.

This can sometimes cause drastic differences between how civilian and military groups manage expectations of program managers and project managers. As you might expect, these differences can quickly escalate with sometimes unpleasant outcomes. At ODS we believe in retaining talent familiar with both the experiences of military and civilian organizations. This enables our personnel to fluidly adapt to and successfully navigate the unique challenges presented in working between military and civilian organizations.

As if that we were not complicated enough, it is also particularly important to understand the differences between a Program Manager and a Project Manager, because in certain areas their unique roles will overlap. Perhaps one of the most commonly misunderstood areas of this overlap is that of the Program Manager working across multiple projects and programs. Due to the number of interactions a Program Manager has, he or she will interact with numerous different and often independent and separate project teams. This can cause confusion when clients have not been briefed by their subordinates as to the roles and responsibilities a particular Program Manager may have.

In summary, a Program Manager has responsibilities similar to the military rank of O-6, with a focus on strategic goals at the organizational level. Often, if there are politics to be navigated, it is the Program Manager who will do so.

Feature Study

Delivered: Project Management

Optimal Defense Solutions ensured the delivery of IT, Visual Information (VI), and Administrative services to the Information Management Division (IMD) at Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC), and the Warrior Ohana Medical Clinic (WOMH), with infrequent support services at Schofield Barracks Health Clinic (SBHC) and Ft. Shafter. In fulfilling our role as the project manager, we focused on the broader objective of providing high quality, safe, patient-centered healthcare; sustaining and building medical capacity and capability; and ensuring a medically ready force in order to optimize the health readiness, and resiliency of America’s fighting forces.

In contrast, a Project Manager is responsible for specific projects or goals and the teams immediately associated with them. Many times, this can confuse people who are not familiar with the differences. As a general rule, Program Managers tend to be somewhat insulated from these misperceptions due to their rank. However, a Project Manager can often themselves in a difficult situation if they are ordered to perform as a Program Manager by someone unaware of the difference. This is because the responsibilities of a Program Manager are well above the station of Project Manager, but traditional Project Managers and the people they interact with across civilian and military disciplines may not be well versed on this distinction.

For the purposes of this example, a Project Manager has similar responsibilities to the military rank of O-3, with a focus on individual tasks and the goals necessary to complete them.

In layman’s terms, one can readily compare the role of a civilian Program Manager to that of an individual responsible for building a 100 home housing development, while the Project Managers would have tasks such as building individual homes, building the supporting civil infrastructure, and managing project logistics, all of which would be reported to and overseen at an operational level by the Program Manager.

For additional information on the availability of an ODS Program or Project Manager, please contact us for a no-obligation consultation.

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