Project vs Program vs Portfolio vs Operations:

Organization to achieve their goals and objectives, they have put solid foundation through project management process, tools & techniques. A project can be managed in different ways.

  1. Standalone project
  2. With in a Program
  3. With in a portfolio

IT project manager interact with Program manager & portfolio manager if the project is inside program or portfolio.

What is a project?

A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to achieve unique product or services.

Examples for projects : Building a bridge on XYZ river, making an ABC application , etc.

What is a program?

A program is defined as a group of interlinked projects , subsidiary programs managed in coordinated way to obtain a specific objective which cannot be obtained if the projects or subsidiary programs are managed individually. A program is not just a large project.

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is defined a group of projects, programs or subsidiary portfolio managed as a group to achieve a organizational strategic goal.

What is operations?

Operations is concerned with ongoing production of goods or services. it ensures that business operation continue effectively. Project can intersect with operations at several instances of product life cycle.

Examples for operations: Production systems, service operations etc.

Project, Program & Portfolio

Projects and program management focus on doing projects and program the right way.

Portfolio management focus on doing the right projects and programs.Portfolio management aligns portfolio with organizational strategies by selecting the right projects and programs prioritizing the work and providing the resources.

Projects Programs Portofolios
Definition A project is a temporary endaveour undertaken to create a unique product, service or result A program is a group of related projects, subsidiary programs & program activities that are managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually A portofolio is a collection of projects, programs , subsidiary portfolios and operations managed as a group to achieve strategic goal
Scope Projects have defined objectives, scope is progressively elaborated throughout the project lifecycle Program have scope that encompass the scopes of its program components. Program produce benefits to an organization by ensuring the outputs & outcome of program components are delivered. Portfolio have organizational scope that changes with strategic objectives of the organization
Change Project managers expect change & implement process to keep the chanages managed & controlled. Programs are managed in a manner that accepts and adpats to changes as necessary to optimize the delivery as the programs components deliver outome & outputs Porfolio managers continously monitor changes in the organization ( Internal & external)
Planning Project managers progressively elaborate high level information in to the detailed Project plan through out the lifecycle of project Programs are managed using high level plans that tracks the interdependencies & progress or program components Portfolio managers create & maintain necessary process and communication relative to the portfolio
Management Project managers manage the project to meet its objectives Programs are managed by program managers to ensure the benefits are achieved Portfolio is managed by portfolio manager
Success Success of the project is measured by product ,project quality, timelines, budget, customer satisfaction Program success is measured by its ability to deliver the intended benefits & effectiveness in delivering those benefits Portfolio success is measured in terms of investment performance & benefits realization


Classic example for Operations are production systems , service operations. A production system will consist of multiple machines & have multiple technologies involved for the production of goods. However the processing of the goods are going to be same process & production system will produce the same goods again & again. Where as service industry mainly focus on intangible products like customer experience , service for goods or products.

Project Success :

We can say the project is success if we are able keep the customer requirements satisfied or exceeding , complete the project with in the scheduled duration, complete with in the given budget & mostly the acceptance agreement from customer.

Project Success

Project Failure:

Few reasons for failure of the project are scope creep , Poor requirement gathering, unrealistic planning & lack of resources.

Project Failure

#what is project,#what is program,#what is portfolio