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

First we should know what is a project, usually people are confused between project & operations. They call operations as project.


A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to produce a unique product or service

The characteristics of projects are

  • Specific start and end date
  • Has a defined objective
  • Series of tasks to achieve a defined outcome or objective


Project Characteristic

Projects are undertaken to full-fill objectives by producing deliverables. The deliverables may be tangible or intangible.

Fulfillment of project objectives may produce one or more deliverables like

  1. Unique product ( a complete product or enhancement of a existing product or correction of product etc.)
  2. Unique service ( a support function)
  3. Unique result ( new process, documents etc.)
  4. Unique combination of one or more of the above.

The temporary nature of project indicate that it have a definite start & end date. Temporary doesnt means that the project have to be short duration like months, projects can span for years duration.

while operations is concerned with the ongoing production of goods or services.

Project Management:

Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools & technique to the project activities to meet the project requirement. Project management enables the organization to execute the projects effectively & efficiently.

The core component of project management are

  • Business case for why a project is necessary
  • Capturing project requirements, specifying quality of the deliverable, estimating resources and timescales
  • Developing and implementing a management plan for the project
  • Leading and motivating the project delivery team
  • Managing the risks, issues and changes on the project
  • Monitoring Project progress against plan
  • Managing the project budget
  • Maintaining communications with stakeholders and the project organisation
  • Procurement management
  • closing the project in a controlled fashion when appropriate.

Effective project management helps organization to

  1. Meet business objectives
  2. Meet stakeholders expectations
  3. Increase chance of successful project
  4. Manage constraints
  5. Manage risks in timely manner
  6. Control changes

Poorly managed project with out project management will fail & result in

  1. Missed deliverables
  2. High cost
  3. Poor quality
  4. Rework
  5. Lost of reputation for organization
  6. Unsatisfied stakeholders

It is the responsibility of IT project manager to make sure the projects are completed successfully. We can cover more about the project manager responsibilities in upcoming days.

Project management is used in most of the industries

  • Transport and infrastructure
  • IT
  • Product manufacture
  • Building and construction
  • Regulatory changes in finance and law

Lot of people do project management in current organization because of they are promoted to this position as they were doing good in their Job, they must have been good in technical topics & they are promoted to PM role assuming they will do good in this position also.

The project management basics is to use project management skills, tools, technologies to make sure that the projects are completed successfully, tailor the project management principles suiting for your project & organizational needs.

you need to be patient when taking the role of Project manager, the first step to the Project management is the right education.

There are 5 Project management process group as listed below

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring & controlling
  • Closing

You don't need to start with a degree, learn from experience at the same time understand the project management terminologies, concept, benefits of right project management through CAPM, PMBOK , Prince2 similar courses & completing certifications will give additional value. Certified project managers will have more value in the market than others.

To become an expert project management professional, throughout your career, you will find yourself learning new skills. This is because no two projects are ever the same. Also, you will find that each project comes with its own set of unique challenges, forcing you to make changes to your plan of action for each of these.

In upcoming post we will be talking in detail about 5 process groups

There are 49 knowledge areas as per PMBOK and the same we will be also covered in later posts.

  1. Develop Project charter
  2. Identify Stakeholders
  3. Develop Project management plan
  4. Plan Scope management plan
  5. Collect requirements
  6. Define scope
  7. Create WBS
  8. Plan schedule management (Project time management)
  9. Define activities
  10. Sequence activities
  11. Estimate activity duration's
  12. Develop schedule
  13. Plan cost management
  14. Estimate costs
  15. Determine budget
  16. Plan quality management
  17. Plan resource management
  18. Estimate activity resources
  19. Plan communication management
  20. Plan risk management
  21. Identify risks
  22. Perform qualitative risk management
  23. Perform quantitative risk management
  24. Plan risk response
  25. Plan procurement management
  26. Plan stakeholder management
  27. Direct & manage project work
  28. Manage project knowledge
  29. Manage quality
  30. Acquire resources
  31. Develop team
  32. Manage team
  33. Manage communications
  34. Implement risk responses
  35. Conduct procurement's
  36. Manage stakeholder engagement
  37. Monitor and control project work
  38. Perform integrated change control
  39. validate scope
  40. Control scope
  41. Control schedule
  42. Control cost
  43. Control quality
  44. Control resources
  45. Monitor communications
  46. Monitor risks
  47. Control procurement's
  48. Monitor stakeholder engagement
  49. Close project or phase

The 49 Processes can be clubbed in to group of 10 knowledge areas which are

  1. Project Integration Management
  2. Project Scope Management
  3. Project Schedule Management
  4. Project Cost Management
  5. Project Quality Management
  6. Project Resource Management
  7. Project Communication Management
  8. Project Risk Management
  9. Project Procurement Management
  10. Project Stakeholder Management

Project Process Group