The Difference Between Project and Program Management

Is there a difference between program management and project management? Probably the most appropriate question is “What makes a project manager different from a program manager?” It seems that these two are just the same; both perform similar tasks, roles and responsibilities on a certain company or organization. But actually, they aren’t. A program manager is higher than a project manager as far as job position is concerned. Why? Here is the catch.

Program management is the process of managing multiple interdependent projects, thus treating each as a separate entity while ensuring the quality of work being done. One very good example is the various projects needed to complete a whole training program. On the other hand, not all program managers do the same work. A program manager for a manufacturing industry has a different job responsibility than that of a program manager for a pharmaceutical company.

There are certain key factors in program management and these are the following:

(a) Governance – Since program managers have wider scope of support, a more robust structure and control is required when carrying out activities leading to program completion.
(b) Management – The program manager coordinates with all individual project managers to ensure the quality of work being done.
(c) Finances – The program manager tracks all the finances, including the cost to administer the program.
(d) Infrastructure – Allocation of resources is also one of the job responsibilities of a program manager. He has to make sure that the right tools and equipment are available once needed.
(e) Planning – The program manager reviews all the plans of project managers to make sure that they are still in synch with the wider plan of the program itself.

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