Distinguishing Portfolio Management, Programme Management and Project Management
There is often a misunderstanding, and hence a mixed and overlapping use of terms, when it comes to programme management. Sometimes a programme is called a project. Sometimes a project is called a programme. In addition, sometimes project portfolio and programme are mistakingly used interchangeably. This article is intended to clarify the main differences and distinguish the unique aspects of project portfolios, programmes and projects.
A great way to start to think about these is to think in terms of a pyramid hierarchy. At the top of the pyramid is portfolio management, which contains all of the projects and programmes that are prioritized by business objectives. Below that is programme management, which contains numerous projects that are interrelated, since they support a particular business objective. Programmes consist of multiple projects, but projects can be independent and simply part of the portfolio. Projects differ from programmes in that they are strictly tactical in nature.
Here is a more detailed look at each.