I feel your pain...my solution, I have a few:
A Desktop Gadget: AppLauncher v3.x Windows Live Gallery
Where you could either drop folders or just single programs to avoid the search through all programs.
It offers dividers so you could group your stuff.
Alternatively you could try this application for the Tray Download Tray Commander Lite - Freeware Software - Tucows
again you can group your stuff by several means just try it out.
or look here
for some alternatives to Tray Commander like
Type and Go