The simple difference between Project Management & Program Management is the resources they manage. Project Managers manage individual project contributors while Program Managers manage Project Managers, often working on disparate or unrelated projects.
Though methodologies, measurable success and quality assurance are common concepts in the world of Project Management, there is a disconnect between the tools a Project Managers uses to successfully complete projects and the tools that Program Managers use to manage their Programs and Project Managers respectively. Project Managers spend years acquiring the necessary training and developing the necessary disciplines that set them apart from a typical line or operations manager. The fundamental difference is a Project Manager learns to develop and employ a project plan that can be used to forecast the impact of progress, lack of progress or issues to the end date and cost, in an effort to develop appropriate responses to issues and mitigate their impact to the greatest extent possible.
The disconnect happens when Project Managers get promoted to Program Managers they go back to simply utilizing the shared disciplines of a line manager. Program plans become game plans, decisions are made based on trust and opinion rather than data, and status and health become subjective based on their audience.
Leveraging our approach to Program Management, we have developed Program Management Performance Tools and Best Practices that continues to build on the shared disciplines of a Line Manager and the unique discipline of a Project Manager to allow Program leadership to identify and quantify Risk in a consistent, measurable, and objective fashion.
Our unique approach to identifying Risk gives project leaders the ability to target the individual Project Managers development in a fashion that mitigates immediate project Risk and completely eliminates future occurrence. Our quality assured standard ensures project executives have accurate program performance data that can be used to determine the “Highest-Need” projects, and make data driven decisions on how they prioritize their program and invest their time in order to affect the outcome.