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Project Management

Program Management: The Key to Managing Multiple Projects

Laura LaPrad
February 7, 2019
managing multiple projects with program management

What is program management, and why is it important?

Looking to take your project management career to the next level? Program management may be a natural next step.

Program management focuses on helping an organization reach its overarching business goals through ongoing strategic initiatives. These initiatives involve multiple projects that all relate to each other, and a program manager oversees the team of project managers working to get the individual projects off the ground.

For example, if an organization is looking to increase leads, a program initiative may include an e-book, a landing page, an email campaign, and paid social media ads.

So now that you know what program management means, let’s talk about why it’s important. Program management benefits organizations by:

Program management vs. project management

A lot of folks draw a line between project and program management, defining project managers as tactical task masters and program managers as strategic visionaries. While we understand the comparison, we believe every good project manager brings a strategic eye to the table and works to ensure project deliverables fit into the organization’s larger vision.

The difference is just a matter of scale.

A program manager is like a scout looking out across the organization for opportunities to create more value for the business and grow revenue. Program management takes the long view, assessing project teams and managing multiple projects, often with a focus toward the future.

Project managers, on the other hand, are the boots on the ground working to ensure today’s projects deliver on time and under budget. The strategy in day-to-day project management lies in assessing risk, aligning resources, communicating frequently, and generally doing the things that keep projects on track.

This simple chart outlines a few key differences between project vs. program management.

program management vs. project management

Successful program management: The program manager’s role in success

Program management involves a lot of moving parts. A good program manager is a master at juggling multiple projects and priorities as they come together to deliver optimal business value.

Here are just a few qualities that lead to program management success and provide insight into a program manager’s typical roles and responsibilities:

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