The ability to categorize IT programs and assign them appropriate tactics, skills and resources is vital to generating positive outcomes, according to research firm Gartner inc. Programs that aren’t properly categorized are much more likely to be over budget, fall short of one or more intended goals, or even fail completely.

Gartner has identified five types of programs to help managers categorize their programs and plan accordingly: Bottom-up (multiple projects that are recognized as part of a larger set of problems and as sharing dependencies); change-oriented (generally triggered by a high-level need for major change); policy-driven (unique to government and public service sectors, they typically enable provision of a law, regulation or defined service); outcome-driven (pushed by a concept of a product, service or generally identified set of results); transformational (an effort that transcends the organization's current vision and its recent history and direction.)

"It's important to educate other business and IT leaders and give them an effective organizational process to select the right program type to drive success,” Hanford said.

"The adage 'the right tool for the right job' is every bit as appropriate to IT programs as it is to carpentry or plumbing," Michael Hanford, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "Understanding different program types, the characteristics, requirements and benefits involved, and how they should be applied to meet different organizational, structural or governance needs is too often neglected in the early stages of planning."

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