From Project To Program Management : Difference And Considerations

By Tech-Act    
10/13/2020  154 Views

From Project To Program Management

Is Project Management different from Program Management? There are many who look forward for an answer to this question. So, before we jump into the differences let us understand the two terms in detail.

What is Project Management?

A project is a temporary endeavor which is designed to generate a unique product, service or result. It is well-planned as it has defined beginning and end. Hence, Project Management is basically leading the team of people who are assigned a project, to achieve the required outcome within a specified time frame that would add value or bring in some beneficial changes. The most challenging part is to achieve all the project goals with the limited resources. The main constraints are scope, time, quality and the budget allocated. The primary objective is to complete the entire project that meets the clients’ requirements. A project manager mainly focuses on the operational elements of the projects.

What is Program Management?

A program consists of various projects that are somehow connected. Hence, Program Management is grouping together related projects as a program. For instance, if someone has multiple projects which are related to each other like creating a website and running a marketing campaign then these two projects are grouped together as a program. To efficiently manage program, specific management techniques, knowledge & skills are used. Programs are managed by team of people as it includes numerous projects. A program manager is accountable for handling a broad range of activities like multiple projects or even multiple programs. Therefore their thought process is more strategic.


Let’s define the key difference between Project Management and Program Management :


Difference And Considerations - Project - Program Management

The management of projects and program seems very similar in lot of ways. For instance, project and program both are selected through the portfolio management processes on the basis that they assist the organization’s key strategic initiatives. Again both share the similar lifecycle that is initiation, planning, execution and closing. They both are controlled and monitored during their Life cycle. The processes applied are also common for both such as time, risk and communication management.

Despite the above mentioned similarities, management of the project and program are very different. As the themes and focuses used for managing them differ which definitely have major consequences on the management style.

The success of the project is defined by the time taken and the budget utilized. Whereas the success of the program depends on the value generated, that is it is more focused on creating higher benefits by either taking more time or by increasing the budget. Hence, the driving factor of program is the “Utility”. The focus of the project manager is on generating the optimum deliverables. Whereas, the program manager focuses on combining the deliverables into the organizations operations to produce maximum benefits. The management of stakeholders is more complex and vital for program managers. Wherein, the project manager operates within a more constrained framework. The framework of risk management is very much definable for projects. However, the risk management framework of a program is open-ended and is largely influenced by the external factors. Benefits Management, Program Governance and Stakeholder Management are the three key management themes that form the framework for PMI’s, the Standard for Program Management. The good practices of management which are mentioned in the guide PMBOK are basically followed while managing the projects.


Major differences between Project and Program Management:


Project ManagementProgram Management
1. UncertaintyThey look for certainty prior commencing execution.They are ready to face any uncertainty as they know the changes in external factors will definitely have an impact on the organization.
2. Change ManagementThey avoid bringing in new changes and make efforts to minimize the unnecessary changes.They welcome the changes to future works and try to maximize the benefits delivered to the organization
3. Risk ManagementUndefined risks are minimized by locking in benefits and by diminishing the threats.They know well in advance that undefined risk will occur. That’s why they maintain adequate contingencies and they look for new opportunities to create value.
4. Management of Stakeholders and CommunicationsStakeholders are aligned with the objectives of the projectsThey engage and build strong relationships with the stakeholders to understand future possibilities focused on boosting the long term value to the organization.
5. ScheduleThey seek to enclose the entire project within the given schedule.The project schedules are incorporated at a summary level and the gaps & interfaces are managed between the projects.
6. Financial CalendarProjects are not closely associated to the organization’s timelinePrograms are closely associated with an organizations financial calendar i.e. quarterly result.
7. BudgetCertain budget is allocated to the project and the manager will manage within that estimate.The process of financial planning and budgeting of program is more complex as its revenue and cost are usually significant to the company
8. GovernanceIt can have management from all levels i.e. from Manager to VP level. However, the governance and controls for decisions are less formal.Senior level management are involved which brings about control gates and governance standards.
9. RoleProject Managers do detailed planning and provide ways to achieve the visionProgram Managers are like architect as they involve overall vision which consists of functions and forms. They look after the structure of the program and organize the various projects within the program to achieve the goal.
10. StrategyThey are more tactical as their focus is to complete the project on time and within the budget.They are more strategic in their thought process as they look at the larger picture that is company growth

Conclusion:

Now it is very much evident that Project and Program Management are different. As project management focuses on short term goals like closing the immediate tasks and deliverables within the given time frame and budget. Wherein, program management focuses on long term goals like company finances and business goal achievement. Well I would conclude by saying that understanding the differences and making effective use of both to create strategic advantage is the smartest thing one can do!!!


Is Project Management different from Program Management? There are many who look forward for an answer to this question. So, before we jump into the differences let us understand the two terms in detail.

What is Project Management?

A project is a temporary endeavor which is designed to generate a unique product, service or result. It is well-planned as it has defined beginning and end. Hence, Project Management is basically leading the team of people who are assigned a project, to achieve the required outcome within a specified time frame that would add value or bring in some beneficial changes. The most challenging part is to achieve all the project goals with the limited resources. The main constraints are scope, time, quality and the budget allocated. The primary objective is to complete the entire project that meets the clients’ requirements. A project manager mainly focuses on the operational elements of the projects.

What is Program Management?

A program consists of various projects that are somehow connected. Hence, Program Management is grouping together related projects as a program. For instance, if someone has multiple projects which are related to each other like creating a website and running a marketing campaign then these two projects are grouped together as a program. To efficiently manage program, specific management techniques, knowledge & skills are used. Programs are managed by team of people as it includes numerous projects. A program manager is accountable for handling a broad range of activities like multiple projects or even multiple programs. Therefore their thought process is more strategic.


Let’s define the key difference between Project Management and Program Management :


Difference And Considerations - Project - Program Management

The management of projects and program seems very similar in lot of ways. For instance, project and program both are selected through the portfolio management processes on the basis that they assist the organization’s key strategic initiatives. Again both share the similar lifecycle that is initiation, planning, execution and closing. They both are controlled and monitored during their Life cycle. The processes applied are also common for both such as time, risk and communication management.

Despite the above mentioned similarities, management of the project and program are very different. As the themes and focuses used for managing them differ which definitely have major consequences on the management style.

The success of the project is defined by the time taken and the budget utilized. Whereas the success of the program depends on the value generated, that is it is more focused on creating higher benefits by either taking more time or by increasing the budget. Hence, the driving factor of program is the “Utility”. The focus of the project manager is on generating the optimum deliverables. Whereas, the program manager focuses on combining the deliverables into the organizations operations to produce maximum benefits. The management of stakeholders is more complex and vital for program managers. Wherein, the project manager operates within a more constrained framework. The framework of risk management is very much definable for projects. However, the risk management framework of a program is open-ended and is largely influenced by the external factors. Benefits Management, Program Governance and Stakeholder Management are the three key management themes that form the framework for PMI’s, the Standard for Program Management. The good practices of management which are mentioned in the guide PMBOK are basically followed while managing the projects.


Major differences between Project and Program Management:


Project ManagementProgram Management
1. UncertaintyThey look for certainty prior commencing execution.They are ready to face any uncertainty as they know the changes in external factors will definitely have an impact on the organization.
2. Change ManagementThey avoid bringing in new changes and make efforts to minimize the unnecessary changes.They welcome the changes to future works and try to maximize the benefits delivered to the organization
3. Risk ManagementUndefined risks are minimized by locking in benefits and by diminishing the threats.They know well in advance that undefined risk will occur. That’s why they maintain adequate contingencies and they look for new opportunities to create value.
4. Management of Stakeholders and CommunicationsStakeholders are aligned with the objectives of the projectsThey engage and build strong relationships with the stakeholders to understand future possibilities focused on boosting the long term value to the organization.
5. ScheduleThey seek to enclose the entire project within the given schedule.The project schedules are incorporated at a summary level and the gaps & interfaces are managed between the projects.
6. Financial CalendarProjects are not closely associated to the organization’s timelinePrograms are closely associated with an organizations financial calendar i.e. quarterly result.
7. BudgetCertain budget is allocated to the project and the manager will manage within that estimate.The process of financial planning and budgeting of program is more complex as its revenue and cost are usually significant to the company
8. GovernanceIt can have management from all levels i.e. from Manager to VP level. However, the governance and controls for decisions are less formal.Senior level management are involved which brings about control gates and governance standards.
9. RoleProject Managers do detailed planning and provide ways to achieve the visionProgram Managers are like architect as they involve overall vision which consists of functions and forms. They look after the structure of the program and organize the various projects within the program to achieve the goal.
10. StrategyThey are more tactical as their focus is to complete the project on time and within the budget.They are more strategic in their thought process as they look at the larger picture that is company growth

Conclusion:

Now it is very much evident that Project and Program Management are different. As project management focuses on short term goals like closing the immediate tasks and deliverables within the given time frame and budget. Wherein, program management focuses on long term goals like company finances and business goal achievement. Well I would conclude by saying that understanding the differences and making effective use of both to create strategic advantage is the smartest thing one can do!!!



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