Worldgate recently blogged about Project Management and it will be useful to clear up a common confusion today: Project Management is not interchangeable with Program Management.
The two terms are similar so it makes sense that they would be used interchangeably by some but in fact they call for very different skill sets and involve vastly different types of processes. When hiring, structuring plans, and executing, the two approaches have different demands and expectations. The most important of these differences is that a project is finite and has an end date. In a way, program management is about managing a grouping of interrelated projects. But there are also some specific differences, reposted here from pmhut.com:
1. Project has a definite duration while a program is ongoing.
2. A project will deliver a very specific “output or deliverable”
3. A program’s output, on the other hand, will be the successful delivery of multiple projects.
4. “Benefits are the measures of improvement of an organization and might include increased income, increased profits, decreased costs, reduced wastage or environmental damage, more satisfied customers. In central or local government organizations, benefits might include providing a better service to the community.”
5. Continually improving processes is a significant part of what contrasts a program from a project.
6. “Project managers co-ordinate individual projects.” The program manager will oversee project managers for the client.
7. “There will normally be a process to change the predetermined scope of a project. Programs often have to react to changes in strategy and changes in the environment in which the organization changes.”
Sources: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Program_management#cite_note-PMH-5, http://www.pmhut.com/how-program-management-differs-from-project-management)