We have seen the definitions of project, program and portfolio. We have seen also examples of project, program and portfolio. But what is the relation ship of project, program and portfolio? To make a better illustration on your mind, lets see the interrelationship of project, program and portfolio over an example.

interrelationship of project, program and portfolio

Interrelationship of Project, Program and Portfolio

We have given six-year airplane manufacturing portfolio of Airbus as a portfolio example in our previous Definition of Program and Portfolio post. This portfolio includes 3 programs which covers manufacturing of 3 different versions of airbus airplanes. Airbus 921 program, Airbus 922 program and Airbus 923 program. Note that, these three programs serve for the same strategic business goal but they do not interfere or they do not depend on each other.

And under each program there are interrelated projects. We gave here some examples, avionics systems project, communication systems project and Entertainment System project for each program. Same projects might be the input for different several programs as well.

interrelationship of project, program and portfolio

Comparative overview of Project, Program, and Portfolio.

Let’s take a look at how project, program and portfolio differs from each other in terms of scope, change, planning, management, success and monitoring.

In terms of scope, projects have more definitive and narrower tasks. Scope is progressive throughout the project lifecycle. This means, new change requests might come from the customer or business and this might affect the scope of the project.

But programs have a larger scope, and provide more significant benefits. Because several projects come together for a program. Therefore, program’s scope will be bigger respectively.

And in the portfolios, scope is more different. Instead of what needs to be done, strategic goals or business vision of a company defines the scope of a portfolio.

From "change" point of you, projects deal with the changes that might affect their project. And these changes often happen internally.

Program managers deal with both internal and external changes. For instance a change or risk that is happening in one of the projects under the program might affect each other since they are interrelated. Therefore, program manager must look broader.

Portfolio managers continuously monitor changes in the broader internal and external environment. Because portfolio serves for a strategic goal of a company and a market or economical change might affect the portfolio as well.

In terms of planning, project managers progressively elaborate high–level information into detailed plans throughout the project lifecycle. So the planning of a project includes detailed work package planning, detailed task planning which includes tasks that can be completed in a few days or even in hours.

And in the programs, program managers develop the overall program plan and create high-level plans to guide the detailed planning at the component levels. So the programs do not dive into details of planning. They keep track of whether components within a project have been completed or not.

In portfolios, portfolio managers create and maintain necessary processes and communication relative to aggregate portfolio. Instead of task and component monitoring, portfolio planning deals with whether the strategic goal or business plan will be achieved.

interrelationship of project, program and portfolio

How does project, program and portfolio differ in terms of management? Project Managers manage the project team and ensure that the project objectives are met. Program manager manages the program staff, for instance program assistant, and project managers under the program. And Portfolio managers manage the portfolio staff and program managers.

Success. How is success measured in project, program and portfolio? Success is measured by product and product quality, timelines, and budget in projects. If the agreed scope is met in agreed quality, on agreed time and budget, projects are considered successful. But in programs, all projects under the program must meet their objectives, timeline and budget respectively. For portfolio, success a bit different. If projects and programs help to achieve the business goal of the portfolio, then portfolios are considered as successful as well.

Last point we will compare projects, program and portfolio is Monitoring. Project managers are the ultimate observer of projects health in projects. In programs, program managers are responsible from the progress of programs and they need to take proper preventive and corrective actions if there are risks that might affect the program. For portfolios, portfolio manager must monitor whether the portfolio keeps going towards the strategic goal that has been determined. If there are any internal or external risks that might impact portfolio, portfolio manager must act respectively.

interrelationship of project, program and portfolio

In this article, we have seen the interrelationships of project, program and portfolio with an example. We also made a comparison over project, program and portfolio. Any ideas? Just type below and share your thoughts.


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interrelationship of project, program and portfolio