A program is defined as a group of related projects, subprograms, and program activities managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually. Programs may include elements of related work outside the scope of the discrete projects in the program. A project may or may not be part of a program but a program will always have projects.
Program management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a program in order to meet the program requirements and to obtain benefits and control not available by managing projects individually.
Projects within a program are related through the common outcome or collective capability. If the relationship between projects is only that of a shared client, seller, technology, or resource, the effort should be managed as a portfolio of projects rather than as a program.
Program management focuses on the project inter-dependencies and helps to determine the optimal approach for managing them. Actions related to these inter-dependencies may include:
• Resolving resource constraints and/or conflicts that affect multiple projects within the program.
• Aligning organizational/strategic direction that affects project and program goals and objectives.
• Resolving issues and change management within a shared governance structure.
An example of a program is a new communications satellite system with projects for design of the satellite and the ground stations, the construction of each, the integration of the system, and the launch of the satellite.