A Healthy Program

A broad look at what makes a program healthy.

What are vital signs?

When a person visits a doctor, the visit usually begins with the doctor looking at the person's vital signs, like blood pressure and pulse. These vitals indicate a baseline level of health for the human body. If one of these is outside normal ranges, the healthcare professionals immediately know there's a potential problem.

There are a lot of things that a doctor can learn by tracking these vital signs over time. The doctor can monitor gradual changes in a person's health rather than waiting until significant issues arise.

What are the vital signs of a healthy program?

Every healthy program has the same vital signs.

No, we're not talking about the overall progress of the program as a measure of program success. Most programs are measured differently, as they should be. We're talking about the proper conditions for a program to achieve any level of success. There are fundamental vital signs that create the opportunity for program success.

The vital signs answer the question: Is my program running well?

There are three core vital signs that you should not only be aware of but proactively manage:

  • Vision

  • Alignment

  • Execution

It's not quite as easy to measure these vital signs as it is to measure the temperature of a human body. But, if any of these vitals are failing throughout the lifecycle of a program, then it's very likely that the program is struggling and will potentially fail.

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