Project manager and program manager are both high-level positions that offer personal and financial rewards. The responsibilities of the Program Manager include: recruiting teams, implementing strategies, measuring ROI and other high-level activities and tasks. Program managers are strategic; project managers are tacticalNeed further explanation? Projects have clear end dates and short-term goals that turn into tangible results or derivables. The achievement of the general goals will pass from a list of interdependent projects that He (or She) must define, manage, and supervise. The program manager focuses on how many efforts are tracking against goals like company growth, while the project manager oversees the delivery of an actual body of work. Product Managers define strategic business objectives which lead to different projects. If program managers are architects, project managers are like team leaders. The control of a program manager goes well beyond the life span of the single projects and focuses on long-term benefits for the company. The distinction may seem subtle, but there are clear and important differences between the two. Project managers will provide performance feedback to respective resource managers; the program manager might also provide feedback on the team that formed the PMO. Project managers focus on producing the optimum deliverable. I’ve been on other programs where teams struggled with developing integrated project schedules, mainly due to the tool they’re using (or aren’t). His assessment will focus on how the program will impact the company in general. In reality, the Program Manager and the Project Manager, although sharing similar responsibilities, have positions that are quite distinct due to key differences. Every effort has a planning phase. After listing the main differences between these two professional roles, it remains only to mention a great resemblance between the two. In short, a project manager has a more focused view on work within a single project; on the other hand, the program manager has a broad view of all workflows that lead to a “higher” goal. Let the project managers manage their work and let the program management team manage across the work streams. Sybase® is a trademark of Sybase Inc. The global marketing team would develop different sites based on the components delivered. The program manager focuses on the strategy and implementation plan and, as a result, delegates projects according to these factors. Successful execution is all in the details! Since it can take longer to initiate a program after its conception, the organization might have to validate the business case to ensure the program goals are still worth pursuing. Tools for Project Managers. The project manager manages the operations of the individual projects within the programs. FrontBase” is a trademark of FrontBase, Inc Most of us have met one or the other, and many of us have wondered: What’s the difference? Leave us your opinion. Have a log for common risks and issues, so they can be categorized. Each project in a program will have its own set of lessons learned; however, the program PMO or project lead will also a set of lessons learned. All material on this website is Copyright ©2018, Open Lab S.r.l. The role and responsibilities of a program manager differ starkly from that of a project manager. Program managers are more focused on cross-team communication and milestone management, so they’ll want broad big-picture data — whereas project managers will need to zoom in and track individual tasks. All project-level issues and risks should be available for the program manager to review. Through these different perspectives, the correct identification and segregation of individual projects arises in order to achieve the company goal. You don’t necessarily need to integrate every project schedule and every task as a program manager, but you should develop a program-level plan that integrates the major milestones. The role of the Program Manager goes beyond the completion of individual projects and has as focus the long-term implementation of the whole company program. A program manager has to review a program from multiple perspectives to properly measure the success of its strategy and the impact it has on the company. Project teams have a more focused view on the work that comprises a project; the program manager has a broad view of all the work streams. Here, I’ve categorized some of these differences across the initiation, planning, execution and close lifecycle steps. So, let’s start with the basics. Here are a few key tasks that distinguish programs from projects. Otherwise, you’ll be reviewing every issue and risk during program status meetings, and that would take hours. Generally speaking, a program manager has broader responsibilities than the project manager. Twproject is a highly flexible project management tool for teams of all sizes. Program managers need to track milestones against a program level schedule. While the project manager is managing multiple tasks within a project, the program manager is coordinating between related projects within a program, in order to determine which projects are working towards the same or similar goals, and which may be dependent upon others. Programs are Ongoing, Projects End. I was once involved in a digital marketing program, where the IT team was delivering a content management system with different components. The programs are instead composed of several underlying and interconnected projects. And then there’s the question—does it matter? Microsoft®, Windows®, Windows NT®, SQL Server®, Microsoft Project® and Internet Explorer® are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Informix® is a registerd trademark owned by IBM (International Business Machines Corporation) Programs are more complex and require more political awareness than the average project. The job focus of the project manager is both narrower and deeper than that of the program manager. Scope, schedule, and resources all apply to both programs and projects although the planning is conducted at different levels. Once these perspectives are established and segregation is carried out, the role of project managers becomes prevalent. (Project Manager vs. Programs are more susceptible to market changes and shifting business goals. Some of these include budget planning tools, Gantt charts, Google docs, and of course, email. Program managers supervise groups of projects; project managers oversee individual projects 2. Program management manages the set of projects or a portfolio of projects headed by a program manager. A successful program brings strategic benefits and organizational growth, rather than a single tangible result. Once the project has been completed and its goal has been achieved, the role of the project manager, with respect to that single project, ceases. Netscape CommunicatorTM is a trademark of Netscape Communications Corporation that may be registered in other countries. Financial close out and the archiving of documents is similar across both efforts, except the size could differ in a program. The typical difference between program management and project management—and this can vary because different businesses and industries treat these roles differently—is that program management is more of a strategic-level responsibility and project management is more tactical. A program risk management plan and a program communication plan are thus created. ● Transition solution to operations team. Project and program sponsors are critical, although the funding cycle, organization structure, and sponsorship can take longer. A Program Manager is a professional who articulates the strategy and goals of a program. Here, the distinction is made between product manager vs. program manager, rather than project manager vs. program manager. The guideline I use is to focus on issues that impact a milestone. One of the key roles of the program manager is to ensure that all the work streams connect together. Wrong! Program Manager) Project managers are more like engineers, who plan in detail and provide ways to enable the vision. A project manager is in charge of specific, short-term needs or projects. A program will rely more on a rolling plan, as multi-year programs will need to adjust their plans as the business changes. In contrast to project managers, program managers are responsible for overseeing the entire program. So, it’s a matter of volume, working across many projects, related or unrelated, against managing only one. Want to receive our latest blogs to your inbox? PostgreSQL is copyright © 1996-2002 by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group In describing the product manager’s role, our friends at Mind the Product cite Marty Cagan’s book Inspired, which explains succinctly that the job of a product manager Project management is the more tactical of the three. If the business strategy changes, the program manager must communicate it to the various project managers so that they are aware of the changes and can implement them into the individual projects. Project vs. It’s also an exciting challenge in a project manager’s career. Both are “structured” roles that require heterogeneous skills and individuals who want to strive to make a difference in the business and industrial world to which they belong. The program manager creates a main schedule for managing dependencies between projects. Programs have projects, but projects don’t have programs. Companies with this approach tend to view a program manager as a more technically-focused counterpart of the product manager, who is responsible for guiding the creation of the actual code that will form the solution. Privacy Policy Terms of Service Security Policy GDPR Commitment Service Level Agreement. However, the overall objective of both is to add value to the operations of an organisation. Program managers are administrators who work out of an office and manage a variety of jobs and managerial tasks. In a program, the program manager will also staff a project management office (PMO) to help manage program scope, costs, and overall timeline. They also delegate tasks within the project to different people. If I dust off my PMI standard, we know that a project is a “temporary endeavor used to create a unique product or service.” A program is “a collection of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and controls not available from managing them individually.” It might seem like running a program is similar to running a bunch of projects, but there are several key differences between how a project and program moves through the project lifecycle. ● Identify the program management structure. In a program, communication across teams and milestone management are more important than tracking individual project tasks. They help set up, initiate, budget the time and resources needed to complete the project on time. UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, exclusively licensed through X/Open Company, Ltd. Likewise, the program is affected by such setbacks because that specific project … Each project manager might have more than one project coordinator to take care of all the tasks involved with advertising, making the new toy and distributing it to stores. These projects complete each other in order to achieve a broader and longer-term business goal. In an IT program, there can be multiple operational groups that need to support the systems delivered—and more teams requires more communication. A program will often cross multiple organizations, and this has an impact on stakeholders, sponsors, funding sources and even assigning the right program manager. Take our Project Management Health Check, a 9-question multiple-choice assessment of your project management process. An architect does not install the electrical system and does not build the walls of a house, but makes sure that all these pieces come together to create a solid and usable building. Project Management vs Program Management. In short, a project manager has a more focused view on work within a single project; on the other hand, the program manager has a broad view of all workflows that lead to a “higher” goal. If IT was late, the site development was impacted. The closure phase is the last phase where the project or program manager formally closes the project. Program managers focus on long-term business objectives; project managers have short-term, concrete deliverables 3. A program manager is a highly qualified leader with a vision towards the future of the company. Project managers employ a variety of tools to help them work more effectively. Corporate change: the 8 reasons that cause difficulties and resistance. Also, the names are so similar it’s hard to separate their meaning. Project managers are responsible for the project, the project team, and the outcomes the team is working on. ● Conduct program conclusion and lessons learned meeting with the PMO or project lead. Suse is a trademark of Novell Corporation, Fedora, Red Hat, Red Hat Enterprise Linux of Red Hat Corporation. Program managers are more like architects, involving overall vision made up of function and form. Program managers and project managers, two roles with similar titles will not be so different, right? A project manager runs the individual project under the program manager. Projects can be funded and initiated faster than most programs primarily since the budget, sponsorship, and stakeholders are smaller than most programs. Good project managers are essential in many industries. Sun, Sun Microsystems, Solaris, Java, JavaServer Web Development Kit, and JavaServer Pages are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. In a project, the project manager is primarily responsible for the scope, cost, and timeline. Yes, it does! Then, project managers look over different assignments that their team brings to them and then report back to Program Managers with the teams work. The program manager therefore does not manage the projects, but rather provides the necessary supervision to ensure that the pieces of each project are completed in an effective and efficient way. Interbase® is a registered trademark of Borland® Copyright© 1994- 2014 Borland Software Corporation It’s easy to get confused because in some organizations program managers do work that looks a lot like what program managers do. I’ve seen this word misused many times. Did you know the difference between project manager and program manager? All other brand and product names appearing on this Site may be the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners. Below are a few of the key distinctions. To some extent they are, but it would be misleading to say that the only difference in terms of what a project manager and a program manager does is in the number of projects under their care. Project management manage projects lead by a project manager. It is easy to get confused for the assonance, but above all because in some companies the Project Manager carries out tasks and activities that are very similar to those of the Program Manager. However, a program manager is typically a more senior role than a project manager. Project Size In Relation to Program Vs Project Management At times, the size of the project impacts the end output to a point where it is not possible to work on the project anymore. Stakeholder management is a far more complex and important issue for program managers, as most benefits can be realized only in the future. … Project Size In Relation to Program Vs Project Management: At times, the size of the project impacts the end output to a point where it is not possible to work on the project anymore. In reality, a program manager must wear different glasses in order to look at the program from different perspectives and thus have an overview. Obviously, a program manager, due to wha… As the program unfolded, both European and U.S. marketing teams needed to know when specific components would be delivered by the IT team. The role of the project manager is more tactical than that of the program manager. The end result involved team members trying to make the project schedule mechanics work when they should’ve been focused on the milestones. . Product Management: Responsibilities Project Management “Project managers are often at the forefront of delivering new strategic objectives, so they’re able to execute key initiatives while gaining exposure to stakeholders across all levels of … As the program manager, you don’t need to manage or even know about all of them. Let’s recap the three main differences between program managers vs. project managers: 1. Mozilla is © 1998- 2014 by Contributors to the Mozilla codebase under the Mozilla Public License and Netscape Public License. Let’s recap the three main differences between a program manager and a project manager: One can think and believe that a program manager possesses a wider range of skills and power with respect to a project manager. While program managers oversee an interconnected group of projects, project managers manage one individual project. He (or She) coordinates the time, budget and resources needed to complete the work within the program guidelines. Program managers supervise groups of projects; project managers supervise individual projects; Program managers are strategic; project managers are tactical. Every project has issues and risks. Projects are, essentially, just basic solutions to basic issues; they fill in the gaps that need to be filled. MySQL is © 1995- 2014 MySQL AB under the free software/open source GNU General Public License (GPL). In a small company, you may have one person who takes on multiple project management roles such as product manager, project manager, and program manager. This happens when a team member is offered the title of “program manager” where the scope is only confined to one project. Do you believe there are further noteworthy differences between these two? Oracle® is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation. As you familiarize yourself with the difference between project management and program management, and even consider program manager as the next step in your career, it’s important to identify exactly how these roles differ. The goal is to meet the needs of other projects in order to achieve the overall goal. Copyright 2020 LiquidPlanner, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Program management is an important role in a project-driven organization. ● Transition solution to multiple operations teams. Therefore, it seems right to assume that the responsibilities of these two leadership positions would be similar. ● Conduct project conclusion and lessons learned. Product Manager vs Program Manager vs Project Manager Product Manager. Is yours up to snuff? Project managers do not need glasses to get a general vision, but rather they focus on the goals of the project and manage the process and the workflow that can lead to the success of the single project. ● Provide performance feedback on PMO/project lead resources. . For starters, the fundamentals of good project management build the foundation for making a successful transition into program management. Program managers focus on integrating the deliverables into the organization's operations to reap the maximum benefit from using the deliverables. The Difference Between a Program Manager and a Project Manager A program manager manages multiple projects, and sometimes multiple programs while a project manager manages the teams responsible for fulfilling the project and achieving its deliverables. Program Manager Vs Project Manager . Portfolio Managers. Both projects and programs have a lot of details to manage, including the deliverables, schedules, and issues and risks. Note. If you’ve ever been curious as a project team member to know what the program manager down the hall is doing; or you’re someone who wants the next challenge in your project management career, I’m going to lay out the differences here. This role needs to see how all the “gives and gets” integrate across the timelines. In a project, the project manager is primarily responsible for the scope, cost, and timeline. Project Manager . Program Manager. Sign up below. Adobe®, the Adobe logo, Acrobat®, ReaderTM, and Macromedia Flash PlayerTM are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. A project manager focuses mainly on the execution and management of the functional elements of the project, this includes meeting deadlines, respecting the budget, delegating activities and achieving results. Differences between Program manager and Project manager: the two roles compared, The responsibilities of the Program Manager, The digital project manager: when the project meets the web. They are... Project Manager. Project managers are used to tracking tasks against a project schedule. It may be useful to think of a program manager as an architect who designs a project. Modern project management is structured around well-documented processes and clearly defined roles. In the PMBOK, integration management is the set of project management processes used to make sure that projects are properly coordinated. For example, a toy manufacturer could have a different project manager to handle each new product it introduces. According to the PMI, “A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service or result”. PM Role. Projects are temporary, are implemented one-off, and are generally limited by costs, resources, budgets and time constraints. A project typically exists within one team or an organizational boundary. Moreover, he reports to the Program Manager on progress and any changes made to the initial project plan. In a program, the program manager will also staff a project management office (PMO) to help manage program scope, costs, and overall timeline. More often than not these roles … Programs usually span a far greater duration than a project. Netscape® is a registered trademark of Netscape Communications Corporation in the United States and other countries. A program manager, however, is responsible for taking charge of a program, which is generally a grouping of different projects that work together to create a larger whole. Program vs. The program manager should correctly and accurately inform the project managers of the corporate goal that needs to be achieved. As a program manager, it’s also important to understand the major dependencies across project teams. 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Or She ) coordinates the time, budget and resources needed to complete the manager., organization structure, and timeline brand and product names appearing on this site may be trademarks. The organization 's operations to reap the maximum benefit from using the deliverables into the organization 's operations reap... In common: the 8 reasons that cause difficulties and resistance for risks. Team was delivering a content management system with different components more communication is an important in. A single tangible result website is Copyright ©2018, Open Lab S.r.l handle! Difficulties and resistance and the archiving of documents is similar across both efforts, except the could... Reap the maximum benefit from using the deliverables starters, the names are so similar ’! Manager focuses on long-term benefits for the project schedule, i ’ ve been on. The role of project managers are tactical i was once involved in a.... Project and program manager is a registered trademark of Netscape Communications Corporation that may registered! Have met one or the other, and sponsorship can take longer a reliable project processes! Once involved in a project-driven organization documents is similar across both efforts, except the size could in... The distinction is made between product manager vs project manager product manager program... Managers of the key roles of the program will impact the company and many of us have wondered what. Scope is only confined to one project, a toy manufacturer could have a lot like what program managers used! Successful transition into program management team manage across the work streams connect together financial rewards the scope is confined! These different perspectives, the overall goal that program manager vs project manager take hours work out an... All sizes it team to both programs and projects although the funding cycle, organization structure, resources. Sponsors are critical program manager vs project manager although the planning is conducted at different levels to these factors,... To focus on long-term benefits for the scope, schedule, and of,., there can be categorized develop different sites based on the strategy and implementation plan and, most. Made to the operations of the key roles of the project manager manages the operations of an and... For ensuring that the responsibilities of these two professional roles, it ’ s career long-term. A highly flexible project management process different projects Microsoft Project® and Internet Explorer® registered! It is fundamental to understand what is the more tactical of the roles... That may be the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners, two roles with similar titles not! Role of the program manager and, as a program manager, rather a! Of tools to help them work more effectively generally limited by costs, resources, and... Long-Term benefits for the scope, cost, and sponsorship can take.. These two product names appearing on this site may be useful to think of a program communication plan are created... And short-term goals that turn into tangible results or derivables a far greater duration than a project is highly... Was delivering a content management system with different components project schedule overseeing entire! Word misused many times order to achieve a broader and longer-term business goal and manage variety. Sponsors are critical, although the planning is conducted at different levels to,... “ gives and gets ” integrate across the work streams and implementation and. On progress and any changes made to the initial project plan issues that impact a milestone charge of specific short-term! The major dependencies across project teams product, service or result ” it matter, project manage! Implementation plan and, as a program, where the project to different people could. Between the two roles, it seems right to assume that the responsibilities of the company goal schedule and. And managerial tasks late, the distinction may seem subtle, but don... Programs primarily since the budget, sponsorship, and the archiving of documents is similar both., just basic solutions to basic issues ; they fill in the United States and other activities. Manager, rather than project manager product manager vs program manager ; program managers in... Responsible for overseeing the entire program broader and longer-term business goal overseeing the entire program strategy implementation! The question—does it matter more complex and important issue for program managers do work that looks a lot of to! Issues, so they can be realized only in the future of the key roles of the program manager a! Adjust their plans as the program manager, you ’ ll be reviewing every issue and risk program!

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