APMP Prep: Are My Answers Too Basic

Paul Naybour

I’ve been working on a couple of questions but wonder if my answers are too basic – any advice welcome

Explain the terms Programme management and Portfolio Management and give examples of 3 key differences between them.


Programme management is the term used to describe the co-ordination of inter-related, or inter-dependent projects that contribute to a common strategic objective.


Portfolio management refers to the management of all activities within an organisation, including programmes, projects and business as usual. An organisation can use a portfolio to achieve several strategic objectives.


The key differences between Programme management and Portfolio management are:


The programmes and projects in a portfolio are not related or dependent on each other. Projects within a programme are related or dependent.


Due to the relationship between projects in a programme a failure of one project can cause all others to fail. In a Portfolio the failure of one project can be compensated by successes in other projects.


Programmes focus on achieving one specific strategic objective. A portfolio can support several strategic objectives


Explain what you understand by the term “project context” and describe 4 possible examples of project context.

The term “project context” refers to the business environment within which the project takes place. In any project there will be a number of areas that influence how the project is run and key considerations for the decision making process.

It is possible to identify the areas of influence in a number of ways.

Economic – Market trends, recession and currency exchange rates are all economic factors that can affect a project

Sociological – The availability of labour and the outsourcing of production processes and services.

Legal – the data protection act and Health and safety regulations are two key factors when considering legal requirements for a project.

Environmental – environmental factors can include the buildings that make up the organisation. For example, in the refurbishment of older schools it is necessary to plan for the detection and removal of asbestos.

3 thoughts on “APMP Prep: Are My Answers Too Basic”

  1. Hi Peter and Andy

    The APM guidance is for 2-3 sentences for each point. Explain what it is, why it is important and provide and example. So for example

    Changes in economic factors can be very significant for projects viability in the longer term. Economic factors that need to be considered may include changes in market demand for the product or service that will be provided by the asset being built, recession which may result in a reduction in labour rates and currency exchange rates which may affect projects with suppliers overseas. In evaluating the viability of the project the sensitivity of the project to these factors should be considered.

    Based on this your answers are too brief to demonstrate that you understand the question and the issues it raises.

  2. Hi Andy,

    Ive just done the APMP exam and im not a moderator or anything but id suggest a few extra points. I would first expand a bit on the definitions of each as its a loong exam and they expect like 300 words per question.

    A programme is a collection of similar projects and related BAU activities aimed at delivering a benefit of a strategic nature. They are long term and high profile. Programme management (as you said) is the coordination of all projects under the programme umbrella and the realisation of the benefits incrementally as each project enters the operations phase.

    Portfolio management is the management of projects, programme and BAU activities in order to balance resources and production bottle necks. Portfolios are managed by a single person (portfolio manager) and can be managed at either project, programme or corporate level.
    something like that then you can go into the differences:

    Type of work:

    Programmes tend to create a benefit by production of a product, while portfolios tend to me more focused on producing and maintaining sustainable production flow. It seeks a balance between stable BAU and environment while responding to changes in the market.

    Deliverables and focus:

    Programmes are focused on achieving organisational transformation in line with long term corporate objectives. Concern with developing a new capability rather than a new product. Portfolios at a high level are concerned with balancing BAU objective with project and programme objectives.


    IN programmes the programme manager is accountable to corporate management for achieving benefits and new capability, though sometimes there is a high level sponsor for this. Portfolio managers are accountable to corporate also however it is to do with the day to day operational priorities and sustaining the portfolio in the long term.

    Your second half is fine.


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