Project, Program and Portfolio

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What is a Project?
A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. The temporary nature of projects indicates a definite beginning and end. The end is reached when the project’s objectives have been achieved or when the project is terminated because its objectives will not or cannot be met, or when the need for the project no longer exists. Temporary does not necessarily mean short in duration. Temporary does not generally apply to the product, service, or result created by the project; most projects are undertaken to create a lasting outcome. For example, a project to build a national monument will create a result expected to last centuries. Projects can also have social, economic, and environmental impacts that far outlast the projects themselves.

What is Project Management?
Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.

What is a Program?
A program is defined as a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control 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.

What is Program Management?
Program management is defined as the centralized coordinated management of a program to achieve the program’s strategic objectives and benefits. 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.

What is a Portfolio ?
A portfolio refers to a collection of projects or programs and other work that are grouped together to facilitate effective management of that work to meet strategic business objectives. The projects or programs of the portfolio may not necessarily be interdependent or directly related.

What is Portfolio Management?
Portfolio management refers to the centralized management of one or more portfolios, which includes identifying, prioritizing, authorizing, managing, and controlling projects, programs, and other related work, to achieve specific strategic business objectives. Portfolio management focuses on ensuring that projects and programs are reviewed to prioritize resource allocation, and that the management of the portfolio is consistent with and aligned to organizational strategies.

Relationships Among Project Management, Program Management, and Portfolio Management
In mature project management organizations, project management exists in a broader context governed by program management and portfolio management. As Figure 1-1 illustrates, organizational strategies and priorities are linked and have relationships between portfolios and programs, and between programs and individual projects. Organizational planning impacts the projects by means of project prioritization based on risk, funding, and the organization’s strategic plan. Organizational planning can direct the funding and support for the component projects on the basis of risk categories, specific lines of business, or general types of projects, such as infrastructure and internal process improvement.
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