- Project and program management can often seem like the same thing, however it is important to highlight that there are differences between them. The things that distinguish them are the keys to guaranteeing good team management as well as proper classification of the roles of project and program manager.Let us begin by making the distinction between the two terms:When a project is large and consists of several other smaller, interdependent projects, it becomes a program. Program management can be complicated when undertaken by one person, and so it is recommended that the smaller projects be delegated to other people. In program management, some of the main functions include planning and executing one’s objectives, managing various tasks and actions that need to be carried out and writing reports that follow the overall progress and implementation of the project. In contrast, projects are temporary assignments with limited budgets, time frames and resources allocated to them .More specifically, a program focuses on a more comprehensive and final goal, while a project only has a one single objective. A program can only culminate when every one of the projects has been carried out successfully or according to plan.What competencies do the roles of project and program manager require?The program manager has to lead skillfully, setting targets to be achieved and ‘envisioning’ how these goals, once achieved, will affect the company. The projects included in the program must be defined well so as to follow along towards achieving the principal objective. In short, the program manager is focused on strategy and execution, delegating projects in an efficient and responsible manner and looking for the long term benefits of the program, not just the success of one single project included in it.
As for the project manager he/she is responsible for the individual operations of a project within a program. This role includes coordinating the necessary functions to be carried out according to the directions received from the program manager: project runtime, designated budget and available resources. Additionally, the project manager designates the necessary actions required for completion of the project among team members and delivers regular reports on the progress to the program manager.
A project manager’s work approach is more strategic and calculated than that of the program manager (who is focusing on the ‘global vision’ more than on the small things), because the work is centred on the the operative elements. The project manager’s work ends when the project is finished, however the program manager will be reviewing every process carried to determine what worked well and what did not.