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3.2. Programme Management Question Attempt

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 19th June 2012

Hi, first attempt at a question, please can I have some feedback? Thanks

Differentiate between the terms project and programme; make five points in your answer.

A project is a single solution targeted to solve a single problem, whereas a programme is strategic in nature and attempts to tackle large programmes of change. For example, a water utility company installing a new sewerage system in a rural village is a project because it is a single solution to the problem of there not currently being mains sewerage facilities in that area. This project may in fact be part of a larger programme for the water company, who must provide sewerage facilities to any number of villages in the next 5 years in order to comply with their regulations. The programme is strategic because whilst it aims to achieve a regulatory output, it can pick and choose projects (different villages) in order to achieve it.

The project is constrained by the specific objective from the start – to provide sewerage facilities to ‘x’ number of properties. In comparison, the programme’s objectives can evolve over time and therefore be modified to suit a dynamic business model.

A project will deliver outputs which will deliver benefits at the end of the project, usually during operation. For instance, the project mentioned above will deliver the output of ‘x’ number of properties connected to mains sewerage, the benefit of this will be realized once the actual construction has taken place, and handed over to operations when the business can then begin charging customers for its use. A programme however, will be focused on delivering benefits throughout its lifecycle, i.e. as each project completes it will deliver a number of outputs (properties connected to the mains sewerage) which will go into operation at the time of completion.

A project will be delivered by a focused team with clearly defined roles, whereas a programme will have complex inter-project relationships. There are likely to be interdependencies between projects within a programme which will require strong communication and influencing skills in order to drive priorities for the best of the programme.

A project has a single customer; so, in the example above, the villagers. A programme, however, has multiple customers changing throughout the lifecycle; for example, different villagers as different projects are delivered and internal business customers who may benefit from the programme’s works.