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Project vs Program vs Portfolio


Project vs Program vs Portfolio


Project is a unique process consisting of a definite start date and end date well defined objectives, when achieved, indicate its completion.  In simple words, project is the process of making an effort to create unique product, service or result.  Project is crated for the purpose of delivering one or more business products according to specific business case.


The program means that you will have multiple projects which are either similar in nature or related to each other.  In simple words, a program will have several projects working for common objective and which are managed in a coordinated way to get the benefits and control not available from managing them individually.


A Portfolio refers to have a group related or non-related projects or programs.  In simple words, a portfolio can have two or more projects will be managed under one portfolio management.  A portfolio consists of Projects, programs, & operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives.

The Difference between Project and Program:

In project, we manage one individual project while in program we happen to manage multiple similar projects or related projects.

Projects have defined objectives and scope is gradually elaborated during the project life cycle. Programs have wider scope compared to projects and more focused on the benefits.

A project can be a part of a program but a program cannot be a part of a project.

Success of the project is measured by the product and project quality, timeliness, budget compliance, and degree of customer satisfaction. Success of the program is measured by the point to which the program satisfies the needs and benefits for which it was undertaken.

Program addresses the management of project management. It helps us to set the project management processes and measure the project results.

Program management will have multiple benefits, like less conflict among projects, best utilization of resources, better communication and coordination among projects and improves organization’s performance.


The Difference between Portfolio and Program:

In program, we manage similar or related projects, while in portfolio we manage non-similar projects or different programs.

The scope for program is larger than the project scope, and the portfolio has an organization-wide scope which changes with the calculated objectives of the organization.

Portfolios are collections of work. However, in most cases the portfolio is not a formal organization but is a reasonable way to group, organize and manage a collection of work. The work may be related or it may not be. A portfolio typically contains projects, but they can also include support, operations and other types of work as well. Portfolio management is generally performed by managers. Projects are initiated, approved and prioritized at the portfolio level.

The purpose of a program is to provide central management and control over a set of essential projects that are all trying to deliver a common objective. The program allows the projects to achieve a common benefit that would be difficult for each project to achieve independently.

Summary is that the projects are temporary actions to build one or more deliverables. Programs are very large initiatives that are broken up into a set of similar projects and then coordinated centrally. Portfolios are collections of work – usually projects – and are a way to plan and manage the projects from an organization perspective.



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