Program Manager vs. Project Manager: Differences

Program Manager vs. Project Manager: Differences

Program managers and project managers perform critical roles in organisations, and while they have certain similarities, it’s critical to understand the key differences when selecting a position or a candidate. The key difference between Program Manager and Project Manager is project managers handle short-term projects, whereas program managers are in charge of managing a whole program. In this article we will see Program Manager vs. Project Manager: Differences in detail.

What is a Project Manager?

Project manager: A project manager is a person who is responsible for management of project from begining to end. Project managers (PMs) are responsible for planning, organising, and directing the completion of specific projects for an organisation while ensuring these projects are on time on budget and within scope.

By overseeing complex projects from inception to completion project managers have the potential to shape an organisation’s trajectory, helping to reduce costs, maximise company efficiencies and increase revenue.

What are the responsibilities of a project manager?

The exact duties of a project manager will depend on their industry, organisation, and the types of projects that a PM is tasked with overseeing. But across the board all project managers share responsibilities across what’s commonly referred to as the project life cycle which consists of five phases or processes:

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and Controlling
  •  Closing

While it may be tempting to think of these as steps they aren’t. Rather these are processes project managers continually return to throughout the life of a project.

Related: Levels of management

What are the different skills of a project Manager?

These are some of the most needed skills of a project Manager:

  • Communication
  • Management
  • Leadership
  • Planning/Coordinating
  • Customer Service
  • Operations
  • Problem-solving

What is a Program Manager?

Program manager: – A program manager is a strategic project management professional who oversees and manage various projects, products, and other strategic initiatives across a company. In many organisations it might take the completion of multiple individual projects to achieve one bigger, overarching goal.

When these different projects are all dependent on one another it can be a challenge to keep them organized. This is where program managers shine. Program managers are responsible for overseeing the achievement of larger organizational goals.

They coordinate efforts between different projects without managing any one of them. Instead, they lead the overall program with strong attention to strategy, implementation, and delegation. Program managers are highly skilled professionals who help organisations stay on schedule on spec and ultimately on an upward trajectory of success and growth.

Related: What is Management Information system?

What are the responsibilities of a program manager?

  • Project planning and implementation within programmes
  • Overall marketing, communication, and programme quality assurance management
  • Specifying guidelines
  • Developing approaches and priorities
  • Evaluating projects and programmes
  • Processing results
  • Reporting to stakeholders
  • Employee training and mentoring in projects/programs

Related: What is Management?

What are the different skills of a program Manager?

The following are some of the skills required to become a successful program Manager:

  • Leadership
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Communication
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Risk Management
  • Resource Management
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Change Management
  • Quality Assurance
  • Documentation and Reporting
  • Adaptability
  • Ethical and Professional Conduct

Related: What is a Gantt Chart in project management?

Program Manager vs. Project Manager: Differences

Program Managers manage a portfolio of connected projects to ensure that they all correspond with an organization’s strategic goals. They concentrate on long-term value realisation and program success while managing resources across numerous initiatives.

On the other hand Project Managers, focus on particular projects, directing them from inception to completion while keeping specified deliverables and objectives in mind. They manage project-specific risks, resources, and quality in order to accomplish short-term objectives.The table below shows the difference between Program Manager and Project Manager:

Program Manager vs. Project Manager: Differences

Frequently Asked Questions

How do project managers handle project budgets?

Project managers handles project budgets by tracking costs, making cost-effective decisions, and ensuring that the project stays within budget limits.

Why is communication considered a critical skill for project managers?

Effective communication is vital for conveying project requirements, updates, and resolving issues and helps to update stakeholders about the project status.

What are the core skills for a program manager?

The core skills for a program manager are Leadership, Strategic Thinking,Communication, Risk Management, Change Management, Quality Assurance.

What are the different phases in the lifecycle of a project and a program?

Projects have several lifecycles, including initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closing. Programs have lifecycles that encompass ongoing management, monitoring, and benefits realisation phases.

How much does a program manager earns in Australia?

The average salary of a Program Manager jobs in Australia ranges from $110,000 to $130,000.(

How much does a project manager earns in Australia?

The average salary of a Project Manager in Australia is between $125000 and $145000.(

Program Manager vs. Project Manager: Differences highlights the differences between these two crucial jobs within organisations. A Programme Manager is in charge of orchestrating a group of interconnected projects and aligning them with the organization’s strategic objectives in order to generate long-term advantages. A Project Manager, on the other hand, focuses on specific projects, ensuring that stated objectives are met within the restrictions of scope, time, and budget.