Programs vs. projects
Following the path set by the PMBOK® Guide, most resources give definitions for programs and projects that don't help distinguish between the two. The definitions that come from the PRINCE2® family are a lot better in my opinion:
- A project is an initiative focused on creating a product (output). That product creates some outcomes, and those outcomes generate benefits.
- A program is an initiative that is focused on creating an outcome. To do that, programs run a number of projects, sub-programs, etc.
- A portfolio is focused on benefits, and maximizes benefits through its programs, projects, etc.
The above definitions are referring to the primary focus, although, each layer is also a little involved in the other two concepts. To give an example, "Implementing the Alfresco document management system" is a project because it's about a product (the implemented solution), while "Improving our document management system" describes a program.
Why is this important? Because projects and programs need different types of management.
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