Project Management vs Program Management-What Makes Them Different

Project Management vs Program Management

Have you ever tried to know about Project Management vs Program Management? Both the terms sound similar and interdependent, but the roles and responsibilities are different.

This blog will explore the difference between project management and program management.

Before discussing the difference between both the terms, we should know about the difference between project and program.


Projects and programs are the pillar of any business endeavour. Projects are small tasks that include cost, date, and resource constraints. In terms of a project, goals are usually short-term, unlike programs.


Smaller projects which are dependent on each other create a large project and are known as a program. A team of people handles these large programs with the projects and tasks segregation among the team members. It includes some functions like launching a successful program that involves outlining objectives, planning execution, operations to manage and report the status. Program goals are generally long-term because it takes much time to work on a program.

What is Project Management?

Unlike program management, it is more concerned with specific project tasks and deadlines. The main purpose of project management is to work on strategic planning, continuous improvement, and value realization. It makes sure that the sets of projects are aligned properly to the larger corporate strategies and resources are appropriately utilized within the organization with fewer contradictions to avoid delays or budget issues.

If we talk about the definition of the project,” it is an endeavor that is temporarily taken to develop a unique product, service or result”.

Team efforts design the project to get the objectives, and it has defined initial and end dates. 

Project management uses the principles and procedures to manage the project from conception by delivering an outcome, like an application, event, product, or service.

Project Management involves-

  • Project objectives definition
  • Intake of requirements and their management
  • segregation of tasks
  • Manage the budget and expenses
  • Allotment of project resources and how to manage them

It deals with the handling or managing operations of a single project in a program. Project management works on the operational elements of the project, like meeting deadlines, completing deliverables, and staying within the budget. Due to these complex operations, it is more strategic than program management. 

The project manager plays a key role here as he reports to the program manager on changes made to the initial project plan. The project manager works like engineers who plan in detail and suggest ways to reach the goal. Apart from this, the manager delegates the tasks among the team members and regulates the time, budget, and resources.

What is Program Management?

There is not a fixed definition of program management, or its definition depends on the source. But we can define it as a “group of related projects arranged in a coordinated manner to attain the advantages that we can not get by managing them solely.”

It goes without saying that “effective program management serves a mechanism for regulating the strategic, financial and operational risks of major business endeavors.”

Programs are a group of projects that focus on the objectives of the enterprise. These dependent projects need to come together to achieve the target.

The purpose of program management is to allow tactical execution by organizing the people and teams across departments to work in a group for a shared motive.

Effective program management helps balance and optimize people and dollars across projects, making the enterprise able to prioritize and finance the programs that possess the most value.

The roadmap is one of the most effective tools of program management that offer a visual way to define program timeline, milestones, and release while giving the ability to the managers to justify decisions and communicate the plan in the organization.

In simple words we can say that program management plays a crucial role in any business.

It is all about mapping out, making the list of dependent projects, and completing them to reach an overall goal.  It is a strategic management approach to execute the control of the multiple dependent projects that focuses on driving the benefits to the whole program by exchanging resources, costs, and other project activities. 

The role of a program manager is to focus on strategy and implementation. A program manager acts as an architect to deal with the program’s structure and organize the project within the program.In addition, the manager needs to ensure how to delegate the projects properly and keep in mind the goals and objectives of the program with its impact on business.

Differences of Project Management vs Program Management-

      ParametersProject ManagementProgram Management
StatusIt includes only one project.It involves a group of related projects.
DeadlinesThe project management revolves around the strict deadlines.Program management is all about the business and operations that take much time to execute. It has flexible deadlines.
Financial CalendarIt does not run on the organization, timeline but on projects.Program management is nearly connected with the financial calendar of a company such as quarterly results.
FinancesIn project management the budget is allotted and they have to work within the budget.It is not simple to manage the budget in program management. It involves the high cost of the operations.
GovernanceGovernance and control are less formal for decision-making.It requires senior level management and direction to get the more power and liberty from the control gates and governance standards.
Change ManagementIn this there is no need to follow the organization’s formal changes management system.It involves more complex operations and needs to follow the changes of the management system.
ScopeThe scope of a project is not broader than the programs as they are defined by its deliverables and defined start and end dates.Its scope is much broader and more adjustable and they are persistent exercise.
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Responsibilities of the Program Managers and Project Managers-

Program managers and Project Managers perform different roles and responsibilities in the organizations to reach the overall goal of a corporation. Let us list some of the responsibilities they perform-

Program Manager-

  1. The program manager manages multiple projects at once.
  2. He has to keep all the project managers and projects set on the singular big-picture business goals.
  3. The program manager manages stakeholders’ expectations and checks that all the project members are in the team.
  4. He ensures that all budgets and resources are available at multiple stages throughout the project.

Project Manager-

  1. The project manager is responsible for managing the detailed elements of a solo project.
  2. The project manager needs to track, quantify, and report on their project status’s particular ups and downs.
  3. He requires mapping and allocating the resources, budget, dependencies, time, and tasks within a given project.
  4. The project manager is responsible for the budgeting, monitoring, planning, and reporting on the different stages of their project.

Importance of Project Management vs Program Management-

Project management and program management are both important for any organization. 

Project management- is preferred by the organization because it does the necessary work to accomplish goals with effectiveness. It is about setting expectations of what we can deliver, when and at what cost. It leads to the unity and coordination of the team’s effort to reach the goal. In the absence of project management, projects can go out of deadlines and scope.

Program Management- is not only managing multiple projects, but its roles are more than that. Below are some benefits of program management.

  1. It ensures programs and projects are linked to the larger organizational goals and pursued to further the long-term goals.
  2. It helps minimize the impact of specific business risks that could potentially affect the projects.
  3. It maintains communication with the stakeholders about projects and statuses, and updates.
  4. Its involvement encourages efficient use of resources and generates realistic project timelines and proper sequencing of projects.
  5. Program management offers a straightforward way to address if progress is going according to the organizational goals. Managers can track progress on a large scale and accept changes when needed.


In this article, we have discussed the difference between Project Management vs Program Management to understand both terms. In addition, we also explain their importance concerning the business endeavor. I hope this blog will help you to realize that any organization that considers mature program management is more successful than others. Moreover, if you still have some confusion or need Project Management Assignment Help, then you can discuss it with our experts anytime.