Introducing the Mercury Program

Learn about the Mercury program’s scope and structure, as it will be used throughout this course to explore various aspects of program management.

As the course progresses, we’ll go deeper into each of the pillars and the traits that define them. Throughout this chapter, we'll use the example of the Mercury application to explore program management. We’ll define the goals of the program along with the projects that comprise it as a good analog to starting a brand-new program and related projects. Going forward in each chapter, we’ll use this program to examine each area or concept, in detail, as it makes sense in the course.

In this chapter, we’ll explore program management through the following topics:

  • Introducing the Mercury program

  • Examining the program-project intersection

  • Exploring management areas

Author’s experience

Back in 2009, in my days as a software developer, I was working at a company that didn’t utilize an internal messaging system. Phones weren’t smart yet, but messaging clients were abundant. However, they all required a central server to be configured in order to manage the messaging network. This wasn’t something that I had access to do, nor was it something the company was willing to supply, so I thought about the idea of a distributed, or peer-to-peer (P2P), messaging system. So, I set out to write one myself, and some of us on the software team used the system for a year or so. It was a fun and distracting side project that we can build upon here as a thought experiment. I called the application Mercury, which is the Roman name for the messenger to the gods.

Let’s take a look at a typical P2P network diagram in the figure below and explore the benefits of a P2P network over a centralized network:

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