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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
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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:

  • Streamlining processes and resources to improve efficiency and effectiveness across projects and teams
  • Ensuring individual project objectives align with larger business goals
  • Actively working to mitigate and manage risk for an increased chance of success

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:

  • Strong organization and multitasking skills: You’ll need to be able to keep up with and coordinate multiple teams, budgets, goals, and interdependencies to ensure everything aligns with the greater company vision.
  • An eye for both risk and opportunity: A successful program manager constantly looks across their portfolio of projects for opportunities to save costs, streamline resources, and improve processes. They also know how to spot problems early and resolve issues holistically.
  • Clear and proactive communication: As the thread connecting multiple people and projects together, good communication is a must for any program manager. You’ll be the voice advocating program value and benefits and alerting stakeholders to potential risks. You’ll also help project teams understand how their work connects to big-picture business goals.
  • Adaptability: Program managers are often the shepherds who guide their teams and stakeholders through the thorny patches of organizational change to ensure a smooth transition. Be prepared to embrace and manage change and adapt your leadership style to different teams and individuals.

Manage multiple projects effortlessly with TeamGantt

Looking for a tool that gives you a big-picture view of your projects while also enabling you to manage the nitty-gritty details? With TeamGantt, planning and tracking projects is easy.

You’ll have all the features you’ll need to ensure projects finish on time and on budget, without overloading your team. Monitor project progress, spot potential delays, check team availability, collaborate in real time, and share project updates with your team and stakeholders—all in one simple and intuitive tool everyone will love. 😍

Watch the video below to see how TeamGantt works, and give TeamGantt a free try today!


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