Program Manager vs. Project Manager: What Are the Differences?

Did you know that nearly 40% of all projects don’t finish on time, under budget, or accomplish the original business goal? That number is staggering in today’s competitive environment.

You can’t afford to keep missing the mark on more than a third of your projects. If you’re considering whether you should hire either program manager vs. project manager then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn the differences and see how both help your organization meet your objectives and grow year over year.

What Is a Project Manager?

A project manager usually supervises individual projects to ensure they’re completed on time, under budget, and within scope. A singular project has a distinct beginning, ending, and end goal.

The project manager has a team they work with to ensure the project reaches the end goal at the assigned date. This team can include people from several different departments depending on the project. The project manager works with their team to ensure that they have the resources they need.

Your company likely has several different projects going on at the same time. You don’t want one project manager tracking them all as this can be both time-consuming and inefficient.

Instead, consider working with professional project management services. Work with experts who have the qualifications and background to ensure success.

What Is a Program Manager?

Additionally, you should have one person managing each project manager. And that person is your program manager. They supervise several projects, known as a group of projects. Program managers are also the backbone of the projects and help ensure that all ongoing projects align with the business strategy.

The program manager sees the big picture and makes sure each project aligns with your company goals. Depending on the size of your organization you might even have several different groups of projects.

Program managers work with the executive team. They determine which groups of projects will help the company reach its objectives. And, of course, they spend the bulk of their day collaborating with their project managers to ensure they reach their goals.

Key Differences Between Program Manager vs. Project Manager

From their goals to execution, project and program managers have several differences. Many people might tend to lump them into the same category, however, they are different. Some of these differences include:

  • The program manager oversees groups of projects while project managers run individual projects
  • Project managers work with their team while program managers work with executives and stakeholders
  • Project managers work on a fixed timeline while program managers look at the big picture
  • The goal of the project manager is to deliver on time while the program manager’s goal is to help reach company objectives

As you can see while program managers and project managers might seem to do the same thing they have several distinct differences.

Different Roles, Different Skills, Same Destination

As you can see there are several similarities and differences between a program manager vs. project manager. Ideally, each would work well together and help your business complete projects on time.

They each bring their individual skillsets to their roles. However, at the end of the day, everyone on your team has the same vision to reach company goals.

For more great information on this and other topics, check out the rest of our blog.