Key Features of Projects and Programs


In our last blog we took a crack at defining a Project versus a Program and the difference in managing the two. You can read that blog Project Management vs. Program Management – What’s the Difference? here.

Now that you have a high-level overview, we are going to break it down a further using characteristics that highlight distinctions between a Project and Program.







Projects have a narrow scope with specific deliverables


Programs have a wide scope that may have to change to meet the benefit expectations of the organization

Measure of Success

Success is measured by delivery of project deliverables per their specifications within the project budget and on time.


Success is measured in terms of on-going achievement of the specific strategy or objective


Role of Organizational Change Management

Project Managers focus on organizational change as it impacts the project’s end customers and stakeholders.

Program Managers have to expect and embrace change. They have to consider the impact of the program on the entire organization and its strategic and financial objectives. 

Leadership Style

Leadership style focuses on task delivery and directive in order to meet the success criteria. Project managers monitor and control tasks and the work of producing the project’s products.  

Leadership style focuses on providing vision and leadership, managing relationships and conflict resolution. Program managers need to facilitate and manage the political aspects of the stakeholder relationships. Program managers monitor projects and ongoing work through standardized processes and governance structures.

Organizational Leadership’s Role

Experienced managers lead projects and need to understand the triple constraints of scope, budget, and schedule.

Executive involvement, support and leadership is key to the success of programs as they span many organizational groups and have larger and sustained resource requirements to be successful.

Level of Planning

Project managers conduct detailed planning to manage the delivery of the products of the project.

Program managers create high-level plans providing guidance to projects where detailed plans are created.


Project managers manage project staff including technicians, subject matter experts, analysts, etc.

Program Managers manage project managers, and those supporting the implementation of program standards and processes. 

Now that we have tackled the difference between projects and programs, we can focus on how you apply Program Management. Stay tuned. And, please reach out to Artemis consulting to answer your Program Management questions or if you need strong and savvy project or program managers.