Project vs Program Management: Key Differences

Project vs Program Management: Key Differences

Introduction

Project Management and Program Management being one of the keys to an organization’s growth and success, they are also one of the many underrated and easily neglected job roles in this rapidly growing IT industry market.

Project

A project is a set of tasks or collection of activities that conclusively contributes to the production of a product with respect to the goals and objectives set before the beginning of the project. To be able to successfully achieve the set goals, these tasks must be performed in a specific order.

Program

A program is a set of projects that will be executed in order to serve and achieve the collective goal of an organization with respect to the set strategies for achievements. A program for an organization serves as an important asset that helps achieve the goals of the organization on a most efficient scale by effectively distributing the available resources among every individual project.

 

Project vs Program Management

To take full advantage of the limited resources or to make the most profit out of the available resources, organizations make use of project management software tools. These tools help in implementing real-time changes into any working project and also staying updated in real-time with the progress of project tasks and activities.

Project vs Program Management 1

Project Management

In general, project management is the process or technique used to manage all the project tasks and activities for successful execution and to meet all the necessary project requirements. A number of tools and techniques are used to make this possible on a countable scale, and a project manager is held responsible for the success of the project.

Program Management

In simple terms, program management is a methodology of mapping that is used to improve an organization's performance and build global recognition by obtaining complete benefits from its projects.

The governing body of project management, PMI (Project Management Institute), describes program management as a management team coordinating all related projects of an organization and always seeking to obtain benefits from the organization's projects.

 

Project vs Program Management – Differences

Since we are well introduced with the concepts of Project and Program Management, let's get into their details and discuss their differences and similarities. The key difference that differentiates both Project and Program Management is that project management is completely focused on delivering quality deliverables, while program management is focused on maximizing the benefits to the organization.

The following are a few of the detailed differences that differentiate project and program management:

1. Project vs Program Management - Process

Project management is a temporary process

Any project, irrespective of its type, would definitely end with deliverables. Since project management is all about managing project activities and seeing them through to completion, the project ends as the deliverables are delivered. Hence, Project Management is said to be a temporary process.

Program management is an ongoing process

On the other hand, for a program, the objective is to deliver high-level functionality (a service) or a high-quality product, depending on the level of competition among other organizations. Since this is something that is to be taken care of at every instance of the company's growth, Program Management is an ongoing process.

2. Project vs Program Management – Method

Project management is Technical

Be it a product or a service, project management only focuses on the project outcomes as the deliverable. With the main objective being to deliver the outcome within the estimated time while fulfilling all the requirements within the set conditions, all the project manager's tasks are technical.

Program management is strategic

The role of every program manager is to strategize the organization’s growth and take responsibility for the development of all underlying projects. This also involves controlling and negotiating with the stakeholders about the objectives of a project being delivered or yet to be delivered.

3. Project vs Program Management – Resources

Projects focus on Time and Budget

As obvious as it is, projects are meant to be submitted on time. The primary goal of project management is to complete it within a specified time frame and within the constraints of the available resources. The application of the project deliverables to the company’s success and growth is not the worry of a project manager.

Program focus on companies ROI

Being a program manager, it becomes their complete responsibility to take care of and analyze what values the deliverables bring to the organization. The analysis must also investigate how the investments will generate returns. Hence, creating ROI and generating customer value becomes one of the responsible assets that every program manager must take care of.

4. Project vs Program Management – Management

Project Management handles Conflicts

The most common thing that differentiates project and program management is the difference in skills required for their duties. The conflicts that come with each undertaking are different to some extent. Projects must necessarily deal with such risks because they always result in something new. Project managers work on forecasting conflicts, making plans for how to deal with them, and allocating a set budget for risk.

Program Management handles Changes

Things in program management are different compared to the management duties of project management. Rather than worry about the project risks, program managers would rather plan on working on the changes that the project deliverables bring for the organization. Involving the coordinated functioning of projects, customers, government organizations, and the board of stakeholders, makes this a more complicated task.

Project vs Program Management 2

Now that we have discussed the differences in management concepts, let’s now explore the differences in their managerial skills.

 

Project vs Program Management – Skills

Project Manager Skills

Communication Skills are a must-have for every project manager, irrespective of the organization or their designation. Communication must happen on a regular basis among stakeholders for the purpose of deciding project objectives and for the team to understand the goal of the deliverables.

Negotiation Skills come in handy when discussing and setting the goals and expectations of a project’s deliverable. This also helps in building the bond among team members.

- Scheduling Skills are the most in demand in every organization, because scheduling project tasks and activities helps in effectively managing deliverables and optimizing resource utilization.

Management Skills help deliver the project scope to the team and also optimize the workload. This also involves defining dependencies, designing a project schedule, and tracking and assigning project activities.

Program Manager Skills

Leadership skills help a program manager oversee the performance of a team and the outcomes of the project. It also involves the ability to analyze the performance of individual team members on different teams.

Budgeting Skills are the key, since every organization would prefer a program manager that can cleverly optimize the budget for a project.

Resource Management is the kind of responsibility every program manager takes on to track, allocate, and relocate the resources of the organization among projects.

Risk Management being a key skill for project and program managers, risks are mostly resolved by project managers, and decisions are made by program managers.

 

Conclusion

A program is a collection of projects that will be carried out in order to serve and achieve an organization's overall goal in accordance with the established strategies for achievement. A project is a set of tasks or a collection of activities that definitively contribute to the production of a product with respect to the goals and objectives set before the project's beginning.

Project management enables organizations to maintain greater flexibility in their deliverables and their deadlines, while program management enables businesses to better achieve strategic goal alignment, project interdependency, and improved resource management.

PMP Certification Training Course

Be it program management or project management, SprintZeal has got you covered with everything. We offer industry-grade training and also provide globally recognized certifications that can put your resume on top in any organization.

Explore all our project management courses and enroll now to successfully land your desired profession. Visit our all courses page to explore the variety of services offered for the courses provided. To proceed further or to clarify any course-related doubts, request a callback or text with our course expert now.

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Sushmith

Sushmith

Our technical content writer, Sushmith, is an experienced writer, creating articles and content for websites, specializing in the areas of training programs and educational content. His writings are mainly concerned with the most major developments in specialized certification and training, e-learning, and other significant areas in the field of education.

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