Paul, given your comments to the other question I answered I realise I need to begin this answer with a list, but your comments on the rest of the answer would be good. Thanks, Sarah
Programmes involve the management of several interdependent projects together with their interaction with business-as-usual. Where the scope of the ultimate objective is too great for a project, a programme can manage a series of interdependent projects with an overarching view to achieve the desired objective. They will also work with the business as it is to ensure it is ready to receive and implement the results of the programme.
Programmes are strategic in nature. A programme must have a vision it is working too which is greater than that which a project would.
Programmes evolve over their life cycle. As the environment or business needs change the objective of the programme can also change to suite the new requirements. As programmes have a longer timescale than projects this allows them the flexibility to change as they need to.
Programmes may have specific departments such as HR or IT to work on the programme and all of the projects within it. A project would not have this in the same way as it would draw on the expertise needed for the finite time it was required and people would then return to their normal roles.
Programmes deliver benefits throughout their lifecycle as their constituent projects achieve their objectives. These benefits can vary in size and impact but the end of each project within the programme will bring about a benefit.
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So we need to say why it is important and also including examples.
Programmes are strategic in nature. A programme will have a vision it is working too which is greater than that which a project would. For example the delivery of the London 2012 Olympics is an example of a programme with a strategic vision to deliver the “Best Games Ever”. Programmes are able to deliver the visionary objectives whereas projects are more focused on the delivery of products.