Thursday, 13 September 2012

1 Minute Intro to Programs & Projects – Their Definitions and Descriptions

"History is lived forward but is written in retrospect. We know the end before we consider the 
 beginning, and we can never recapture what it is to know the beginning only."

~C.V. Wedgwood

The quote above got me thinking that as unlikely as it may seem to those of us already in the profession there are still a lot of people who are just beginning to learn about it for any of a number of reasons. Thus, following the theme of this site, the following information is a one minute introduction into programs and projects. The source is from the PMI (Project Management Institute) standards and that is an excellent source for many publications of these topics.

A project:
  • is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result (temporary does not necessarily mean short in duration)
  • has a definite beginning and end
  • ends when the projects objectives have been achieved or when the project is terminated because its objectives will not or cannot be met, or when the need for the project no longer exists
A program:
  • is a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually
  • may include elements of related work outside of the scope of the discrete projects in the program
  • also includes components for managing effort and the needed program infrastructure
A portfolio:
  • refers to a collection of projects or programs and other work that are grouped together to facilitate effective management of that work to meet strategic business objectives

Thus, as shown in the drawing above:
  • Portfolios encapsulate Programs
  • Programs encapsulate related Projects
  • Projects encapsulate deliverables
  • Deliverables are comprised of tasks that need to be efficiently and effectively accomplished in order to realize all of the successively larger views and management towards realizing the required business objectives

Projects and programs are carried out using project management and project leadership techniques.
Project management:

Project leadership:
  • focuses the efforts of a group of people toward a common goal and enable them to work as a team
  • establishes and maintains the vision, strategy, and communications
  • motivated and inspires project participants to achieve high performance
  • fosters trust and team building
  • influences, mentors, and monitors
  • evaluates the performance of the team and the project

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