Understanding programs and projects–oh, there’s a difference!

The difference between projects and programs has been ignored or confused by many people for too long

Unfortunately, from the very beginnings of modern project management, the terms have often been used interchangeably

The confusion between projects and programs continues in many quarters to the current day.

A more worrying recent trend has been for organizations to start classifying quite simple projects as “programs” in an apparent attempt to avoid the necessity of defining the specific “product, service, or result” that they need. While the degree of difficulty in determining the deliverable may alter the project’s strategy and approach, a project remains a project! If the performing organization/client cannot tell the project manager what they want, the project is unlikely to succeed, and changing its name to a “program” won’t help.

The boundary that needs to be drawn much more sharply, and the focus of this seminar is between projects that are initiated to create a known deliverable and then shut down and programs that are initiated to create a change and/or realize benefit(s) for the host organization, adapting to circumstances as conditions change and using projects to create individual deliverables within the overall matrix of the program.

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