Program is a coordinated approach to manage group of projects in a way to achieve benefits which are not available by managing projects individually. It is fundamentally more complex than a project because it has a wider scope and require lot of coordination and communication among its various projects. A project ended up after its completion and, a program should maintain and integrate the operationality of the output of a project over a specified time period. It may last over the years or the decades depending upon complexity, objectives, nature and context of the projects included. Organizations and companies allocate program manager to manage the whole program effectively.
Program management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to meet program objectives and requirements and to attain benefits and control which is not available by managing projects separately. The major focus of Program management is to find project inter dependencies and determine an optimal approach for managing the inter dependencies. Actions related to these project inter dependencies may include but not limited to:
Allocate appropriate resources to each project accurately and resolve resource constraints and/or conflicts that may affect various projects within the program, the major focus of project management is to align organizational/strategic direction that affects project and program goals and objectives, and resolving scope creep issues and effectively manage change management within a shared governance structure.
An example of a program is to launch of new communications satellite system in the space and the projects include in this program are projects for designing of the satellite and ground stations, construction of each station, proper integration of the system, and finally launch of the satellite. It may include sub-program and sub-program may have sub-program depending upon the complexity and context of the projects included.