Project Management vs Program Management

Program Management vs. Project Management – A Detailed Comparison

You must be wondering if both these terms sound similar, but how they are different. Yes, program management vs project management is two entirely different career options for anyone who wants to pursue their dreams in management. If you wish to understand the meaning of these management options, you need to know the difference between a project and a program. 

Projects are smaller and come with particular budgets, places, data, and resource constraints. They have a short-term duration, and the project’s objective is always companies mission and goal. At the same time, the program consists of large projects made up of several small projects dependent on each other. A well-trained team of people handles the program because they are too large to be handled by a single person. 

So, as you know the difference between project and program, let’s move ahead and understand the difference between program management and project management. Also, if you are interested in getting a certification in project management, we have the best courses in the town for achieving your goal. 

Checkout – PMP Certification Training Course

What is Program Management?

Program management includes mapping several projects at once as they are highly dependent upon each other. These small projects are planned, implemented, and measured to reach the desired goal. A program manager is responsible for all the operations, management, outlining of the plan, and execution to manage a program. The primary focus of a program manager is to delegate the work properly and handle the consequence, if any, at the later stage. Program management focuses on the project’s impact on a broader picture and primarily emphasizes long-term goals. 

What is Project Management? 

Project management includes managing various small projects that come under an extensive program. Project management is a bit more comprehensive than program management as its focuses on detailed work. Few of these works include staying under the budget, maintaining deadlines, and completing deliverables. The project manager here delegates the outline of the project and assigns the responsibility to the team for further process. The project manager reports to the program manager on the progress of the project and deliverables from time to time. 

Trending – Product Manager vs Project Manager – Which Is Better?

What Does a Program Manager Do?

A program manager has several roles to pursue because they are responsible for multiple workloads simultaneously. The program manager works on the deadlines, delivering artifacts, making strategic decisions, managing stakeholders, and mitigating risk across the project outcomes. In a fully grown organization, a program manager must connect with the people who can solve the issues or mitigate them. In simple words, they should connect with other valuable members of the parties to increase the workflow and value of the project. Daily, a program manager undertakes charge of the following tasks: 

  1. Evaluate various Portfolios

A program manager is mainly known for creating relations with the team members and the clients. They evaluate the portfolio of the project by scanning the documents and having little chat with the team members upon the project. The evaluation is done to recognize any gaps or improvement opportunities in the program. This also includes connecting with the project team to ensure that the project leaders are on track and not mind-blocked. 

  1. Run the Program 

Program manager is responsible for running a program from the initial stage to the final stage till the delivery of the project to the client. This process includes maintaining the budget and handling the resources incorporation with the project managers.  Apart from this, they also define the parameters and control the operation by introducing the program’s core value. 

  1. Mitigate the Program Risks 

Risk management is one of the critical abilities of a program manager. Even scanning a portfolio comes with various risk factors, where the program manager comes into play. They are responsible for mitigating all the risk factors to improve the project performance within a deadline.  Ideally, a program manager takes action to minimize the risks in the portfolio. 

What Does a Project Manager Do?

A project manager is a person in charge who is responsible for handling, designing, maintaining, and executing the small projects that come under an extensive program. A typical day for a project manager includes: 

  • Checking the status of the deliverables and ensuring that they will be executed under budget or not. 
  • Creating a plan for the upcoming milestones and how to proceed with them.
  • Ensure that the quality of a project is not compromised by regularly checking it every week from the initial phase. 
  • Reviewing the teamwork, suggesting the changes, and bringing new opportunities for the company’s growth. 

Read More – Roles And Responsibilities of a Project Manager

Comparison Between Program Management Vs. Project Management

As you can see, program and project managers work on highly related work. The difference between these two roles is scope and ambition. The table below shows the clear distinction between program management vs. project management in a nutshell: 

Program Management  Project Management 
Works toward broader goals and more prominent clients.  Narrow in scope.

Go into deep prospects.

Deals with fulfilling the business’s mission. Involve a clearly defined end product or a goal. 
Ongoing (Evolves over time)  Balances time, budget, and efforts to provide the best quality at the end of the project. 
Contains multiple projects at one time. Has a definite end date. 
Focus is primarily on the “What” question to ensure the company’s growth.  Focus is on the “how” 



As we have seen how these professions differ from each other, they are also highly reputed designation in the corporate world. To become a highly-skilled program manager or project manager requires lots of patience and good guidance. Apart from this, having a certification in the respective domain increases the chance of becoming a manager. If you are interested in pursuing management as a career but are confused about how to start the journey, we are here for you. We provide extensive project management guidance and certification to give you overall achievement in the field. Our highly recommended instructors are always ready to help and deliver in-depth certification training like PMP, CAPM, PMI, Scrum, etc. So enroll today for a bright future.

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