A single use plan is one that is used only once and then it is cancelled. It is framed as per the requirements of a particular situation or goal and is discarded, on reaching the goal. Budgets, schedules, projects and programs are some of the examples of single-use plans. A project can be described as one-off operation, that has certain objectives and required to be met within stipulated time.
A project differs from a program in the sense that the latter is a bundle of related projects, managed in a coordinated manner, to attain the benefits, which is available only when the projects are managed in groups. There are many students who misconstrue project for the program, so here, in this article, we will explain the difference between project and program.
Content: Project Vs Program
|Basis for Comparison||Project||Program|
|Meaning||A project refers to the temporary activity, which is undertaken to create a distinct product or service, that has certain objectives.||A program implies a set of projects which are linked to one another, in a sequential manner to attain the combined benefits.|
|Time horizon||Short term||Long term|
|Concerned with||Specific deliverables, i.e. product or service||Benefits received|
|Tasks||Technical in nature||Strategic in nature|
|Success||Success can be measured in terms of product quality, timeliness, cost effectiveness, compliance and degree of customer satisfaction.||Success is measured by the extent to which program meets out the needs and benefits, for which it was conducted.|
Definition of Project
The term project can be defined as one-time undertaking, to create a new product or service, having a certain beginning and ending point. It is an organisational unit which is explicitly dedicated to the pursuance of a goal, i.e. satisfactory accomplishment of developing a product in time, within the budget, in accordance with the desired performance level.
A project comprises a set of routine and interlinked activities, with a goal, which has a definite goal and requires to be completed with a stipulated time and resources. The projects may vary regarding size, i.e. small, medium, large and very large. After the accomplishment of the project, a final product is received. The basic features of a project are:
- It has a purpose.
- It is unique.
- It is time bound.
- It is undertaken by a team.
- It is dynamic in nature.
Definition of Program
The program can be defined as a framework of plans of work, which comprises of a set of projects that are complementary to one another and aligned in proper sequence to achieve economies of scale. Projects are grouped into a single program when the resultant benefit of the collection supersedes the benefits of managing individual projects. It consists of various projects which are started to reach organisational goals.
It is undertaken to improve the overall performance of the organisation, as it is related to business process re-engineering, change management, etc. Implementation of programs requires laying down of policies, procedures and methods, in a coordinated manner.
Key Differences Between Project and Program
The differences between project and program can be drawn clearly on the following grounds:
- The temporary activity, which is carried out to create a distinct product or service, that has specified objectives, is called project. A bundle of projects which are linked to one another, rationally to attain the combined benefits, is called program.
- While the project is content-specific, which focuses on delivering the required result. Conversely, a program is context-specific, which links different projects that are related to each other so as to achieve the ultimate goal of the organisation.
- A project is distinct and is for specified duration. On the other extreme, a program is everlasting and executed in the business to continuously obtain the results of the entity.
- A project deals with specific deliverables, whereas a program is concerned with the benefits received, from implementing it.
- The scope of the program is wider in comparison to the project, the project works on a single functional unit, while the program works on various functional units.
- The tasks performed by the project manager, to complete the project are technical in nature. On the contrary, the tasks performed to implement the program successfully, are strategic in nature.
- There is a generation of specific output which is demanded by the project. In contrast, the program produces the general outcomes which are necessary for the growth and survival of the organisation in the long run.
- One can measure the effectiveness of the project by evaluating the product quality, timeliness, cost efficiency, compliance and degree of customer satisfaction. As opposed, to measure the effectiveness of the program, one needs to check whether it fulfils the needs and benefits, for which it was implemented.
The project is undertaken to deliver the required output in a given time, which is also cost effective. On the other hand, programs are implemented by the organisation to get the benefit of synergy. While the project is all about doing the things right, the program is all about doing the right things.