Do you want your customers to use your products? Do you want them to use them as you intend?
New products (including in the form of software systems) are an important part of implementing change. However, the procurement or development of a product, or added features, does not provide value to a business or customers in-and-of-itself.
An effective program is required to drive product development and implement the change for customers and the business to achieve benefits. No change, no benefit.
Recent popularity of Agile product development, and the desire for quicker product delivery, has made this principle all the more relevant. Pursuit of any product development needs to be in the context of the investment and control of a well engineered program. We recognise that building and growing a business is akin to running a marathon – it requires planning and adaption to the situation over the distance. There are approaches to progress, even running the whole distance in sprints. However, starting a marathon by sprinting with no idea of how long the race is, which direction to run in, who the competition is, or your own competitive strengths against such competition is a guaranteed formula for waste.
When done well, programs will plan long (to provide funding/capital confidence), but deliver short (via progressive releases of change and product).