From Project Management to Program Management: Differences and Considerations
Project Management is a systematic approach to managing projects within the resources available to achieve the goals. Project Managers are looking to improve their career within and outside of organizations. They want to acquire certifications and gain new skills.
One way to make a change from project manager to program manger is to reflect upon:
What are the steps to take to move from project management to program management?
What can program management expect of them?
What are the problems/issues they might encounter in the hierarchy?
What makes it different and challenging?
Let’s review the basic understanding of programs and projects, and then let’s look at how they differ.
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Let’s take a look at the definitions of the terms in the Project Management Book of Knowledge ( PMBOK).
Project Management –
“Project management is the application knowledge, skills, and techniques to project activities in order to meet project requirements.”
Program Management –
Program management is concerned with interdependencies between projects and within programs to determine the best approach to managing them. Program management, regardless of its domain, includes many projects, positions/roles in project management.
What does a Program Manager do for the organization?
Program managers are responsible for delivering the output/result products of the program. This is also responsible for managing the portfolio projects and programs.
They will need to coordinate with other project managers or teams involved in managing their projects. Program managers must have knowledge about the financial strategies of the organization as performance plays a crucial role in the organization’s financial health.
Program managers have many responsibilities, including but not limited to:
Deliver the vision of the organization
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Wikipedia: “Program management refers to the process of managing multiple related projects, often with the aim of improving an organization’s performance.”
These are just a few of the other roles and responsibilities that a program manager has:
Managing the program plan throughout the life cycle of the program.
Define the process, procedures, reporting structure, and program controls that will manage and deliver the program.
Planning the overall program, monitoring its progress across all projects, and ensuring that all projects are progressing on schedule. Managing the program budget, which is a consolidated budget for all the assigned projects, and ensuring no project exceeds the allocated budget.
Assess all risks associated with the program in its entirety and take corrective steps to control and minimize them.
Coordinating with the interdependencies of the various programs and projects.
Manage and efficiently use resources across multiple projects/programs.
The difference between a Program Manager and a Project Manager:
Program Manager Project Manager Plan program-level activities and their dependencies Control all phases of the program Manage risks and project constraints and delegate to affected projects Manage project risks, issues and report to the program manager if required Frame policies and procedures for projects Runs projects according to the established policies and procedures Resolve resource conflicts