Interview with Michel Thiry


Programs Are Benefits-driven and Agility-based

 Interview with Michel Thiry, PhD
 Author, Expert, Professor, Speaker
Valense Ltd, UK

Interviewed by Yu Yanjuan
Journalist, Project Management Review: PMR (China)

Introduction to the interviewee

Michel Thiry, PhD, Fellow APM, PMI Fellow, Member of PMI® since 1993, PMP® since 1994, MSP Advanced Practitioner (2007), is an author, keynote speaker, professor, consultant and managing partner of Valense Ltd.

Michel Thiry has an extensive worldwide experience and has worked in many cultural environments. He is recognized as a worldwide authority in strategic applications of project, program and value at organizational level and has supported the development and implementation of a number of strategic programs for major corporations in various fields, including construction, financial, pharmaceutical, IT and IS, telecom, water treatment, transportation (air and rail), local government and others using agile and change concepts.

He is a regular keynote speaker for major international events, both at the Academic and Practice levels since 1996, and Seminar Leader for PMI® SeminarsWorld since 2001.

His 2010 book “Program Management” has been presented with an Award of Merit by the Canadian Project Management Association and is on the PMI’s recommended list of readings for the PgMP® Exam. The 2nd edition has been published by Routledge in 2017. In 2013, the PMI® has published a revised and updated version of his book “A Framework for Value Management Practice”. He has also written a number of book chapters on Value, Program and Portfolio Management in prominent PM books like the Gower “Handbook of project management” 3rd and 4th editions and the “Wiley Guide to Project, Program and Portfolio Management”, published by Wiley (2007). He was also a contributing editor for PM Network from 2003 to 2008, a “Significant Contributor” to the PMI® Standard for Program Management 3rd Edition (2013) and was on the core team of the new PMI® Practice Guide to Managing Change in Organizations (2013).

Michel obtained an MSc in Organizational Behaviour from the School of Management and Organizational Behaviour at the University of London and a PhD on the Contextualisation of Project Organizations at Middlesex University in the UK. In 2006 he was elected PMI Fellow for his continued contribution to project management and in 2007 he was nominated Fellow of the Association for Project Management. In 2008, he was awarded a Life Achievement Award by the Canadian Society of Value Analysis. In 2014, he was awarded the PMI Eric Jenett Project Management Excellence Award for outstanding contributions to the practice of the profession, and leadership in advancing PM concepts, techniques, practices, or theories.

Expertise: Value Management, Project and Program Management, Governance, Portfolio Management, PMO, Organizational Strategy and Change.




Part 1: Programs are inherently agile

Q1. In VUCA era, how should the success of a program be measured?

Michel Thiry (Thiry):         Programs are inherently agile in the sense that they deliver benefits in cycles and that there should be a measurement for benefits and value appraisal process at the end of each cycle. This allows for realignment or termination if necessary. The success of a program is measured through its ability to deliver business strategies, but this can only be achieved if the strategy is well stated through clear strategic objectives, which can be broken down into measurable critical success factors and key performance indicators.

Q2. What are your tips on instilling agility to program management?

Thiry:    Agility is the foundation of program management, if it is not already there, you are not managing a program, but a big project. We must stop thinking of programs as big projects; programs are a means of executing strategies and, like strategies, in today’s VUCA world, they have to be realigned regularly.

Q3. There are various kinds of trainings for Program Management (PgM) certificates. In your opinion, what should we pay attention to in PgM training?


To read entire interview, click here


Editor’s note: This interview was first published in PMR, Project Management Review magazine, China.  It is republished here with the permission of PMR. The PM World Journal maintains a cooperative relationship with PMR, periodically republishing works from each other’s publications. To see the original interview with Chinese introduction, visit PMR at http://www.pmreview.com.cn/english/

How to cite this interview: PMR (2019). Programs Are Benefits-driven and Agility-based; Interview with Michel Thiry; Project Management Review; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IV (May). Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/pmwj81-May2019-Yanjuan-Interview-with-Michel-Thiry.pdf


About the Interviewer

Yu Yanjuan

Beijing, China




Yu Yanjuan, Bachelor’s Degree, graduated from the English Department of Beijing International Studies University (BISU) in China. She is now an English-language journalist and editor working for Project Management Review Magazine and website. In the past, she has worked as a journalist and editor for China Manned Space Agency website and Student English Times. She once worked part-time as English teacher in training centers. For work contact, she can be reached via email yuyanjuan2005@163.com or Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/yanjuan-yu-76b280151/.