Asked by : Raghu Kastury, Principal Consultant & Head of Strategic Business Unit - Retail & Distribution, Sundaram Infotech Solutions Limited
Industry : Management & Strategy Consulting
Functional Area : Project Management
Activity: Question posted: 06 06 2009 07:27:29 +0000, 2 answers, 594 views, last activity 07 06 2010 20:18:08 +0000
Program management and project management are usually used interchangeably. But they are different. What is the difference in definition? what is the difference in job description, responsibilities and authorities?
Raghu, this is an interesting question which I asked five years ago but did not get an immediate answer and actually never seek to do research on it. Being contracted to work in a project management unit which was later changed to a development unit that manages only international funded projects/programs I noticed the term project/program were used nterchangeably and suspect that the consultants never took time to pay attention to this . However, I will attempt to answer the question as follows:
Program management or programme management is the process of managing multiple interdependent projects that lead towards an improvement in an organization's performance. Program management also emphasises the coordinating and prioritizing of resources across projects, managing links between the projects and the overall costs and risks of the program.
Program management provides a layer above the management of projects and focuses on selecting the best group of projects, defining them in terms of their objectives and providing an environment where projects can be run successfully. Program managers should not micromanage, but should leave project management to the project managers.
A program management team works to identify the mission, projects to be accomplished, and it’s close. The team provides support for the requirements of the projects. They monitor the program plan and keep track of information within the specific projects. After the completion of the project, it is reviewed and documented.
Project management is a carefully planned and organized effort to accomplish a specific (and usually) one-time objective.
Project management includes developing a project plan, which includes defining and confirming the project goals and objectives, identifying tasks and how goals will be achieved, quantifying the resources needed, and determining budgets and timelines for completion.
It also includes managing the implementation of the project plan, along with operating regular 'controls' to ensure that there is accurate and objective information on 'performance' relative to the plan, and the mechanisms to implement recovery actions where necessary.
A project management team works to identify the triple constraint of time, scope and cost of a project. Then, they plan and report on the delivery of the project. While the project is being accomplished the triple constraint is reviewed. At it’s close, the project management team will review and report on the accomplishment of the project.
An age old question with an age old answer:
It depends on how the "project" and "program" is defined. In the PMP language, a project is a temporary endeavor to create a unique product and a program is multiple interdependent projects – towards the same goal. The confusion is there as the original definition of these terms was done ages ago where the complexity/ambiguity was absent. For example, what is a support kind of activity called? Is it a project or a program? How are the organizational systems that track the initiation of these support activities designed?
From my perspective, be it project or program, its intent is to satisfy some customer's (internal/external) goal/goals and the organization should define it either as a project or a program based on its scope, risks, budget and business value.
From the roles/job description perspective, it should fit the need as described in the PMP/PgMP. But at the intent level, the challenge is on the focus on the goal of the project/program and the alignment of all the stakeholders to that intent. But each has its challenges. A program generally has to factor effort for more number of meetings, reviews and testing than a project. Of course it also depends on the skill of the team and other factors like productivity.
So the job description, responsibilities etc would depend on these factors.
- Create a confidential Career Profile and Resume/C.V. online
- Get advice for planning their career and for marketing of experience and skills
- Maximize awareness of and access to the best career opportunities