Managing a project and managing a program are tasks that need correct knowledge to successfully see them through to the end.
While the terms “project management” and “program management” can be used interchangeably, they are two terms requiring different types of specialization.
This article explains the differences between project management and program management and how they work together to complete organizational change.
What Is Program Management?
According to A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) Sixth Edition, program management is “the application of knowledge, skills and principles to a program to achieve the program objectives and to obtain benefits and control not available by managing program components individually.”
Essentially, a program is made up of several related projects. In order to manage a program, the manager may work with several team members throughout the organization. Program managers are focused on the macro side of things – in other words, the bigger picture. In some cases, a program manager may be the supervisor of a project manager. It is the program manager’s responsibility to ensure that each project in the overall program is running smoothly.
Other responsibilities of a program manager may include the following:
- Communicating between departments to make sure projects within the program are working as scheduled
- Making sure the program is aligned with the goals of the business
- Handling internal political issues that may arise throughout the program’s duration
- Cultivating an open and communicative culture within the program
- Creating mentoring relationships if needed
- Ensuring the program is designed to provide a solid return on investment
According to the Project Management Institute’s 2020 Project Management Salary Survey, the median annual salary of a U.S.-based program manager is $125,000.
What Is Project Management?
As defined by the PMBOK® Guide, “project management is management of a group of activities or initiatives with a defined deliverable and a definite starting and end point.” A project manager’s responsibility is to take a certain project and see it through from the beginning to the end of its lifecycle. Project managers direct diverse project teams and work to ensure the team is turning in all deliverables on time.
When it comes to the project’s lifecycle, the project manager works ensure that the project is done on time, the scope of the project is realistic, and that there are enough resources to complete the project successfully. Each project manager has a certain list of tasks to handle and they are very hands-on, whereas the program manager makes sure the entire program is going well -not just one spoke of the wheel.
Expand Your Project Management Education
If you are interested in learning more about project management, program management and the responsibilities associated with each role, Florida Tech offers a 100% online MBA in Project Management that provides students with hands-on experience in planning and managing projects in the modern business environment.
PMBOK is a registered trademark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.