Project management and program management are two very different beasts. Many people use the terms interchangeably, but they are actually quite different. Project management is focused on the individual project, while program management takes a broader view of all projects and their interconnections. Program management training is essential for businesses that want to achieve long-term success. In this article, we will discuss what program management is, the difference between project management and program management, and the benefits of implementing program management training in your workplace!
What Is Program Management?
Program management is the process of overseeing the entire workings of your company’s program, including coordinating and bringing multiple projects to completion. Program management takes an entirely different perspective on company progress than looking at project management, in that effective program managers are constantly looking for ways to grow and improve their company rather than focusing on the details of the inner workings of project management.
What Is the Difference Between Project Management and Program Management?
Project management is the process of leading a team and collaborating on a project with a deliverable result for a stakeholder or customer. This can come in many different forms, from traditional waterfall project management to new ideologies like agile methodology. Project management looks at one project at a time and focuses on delivering a satisfactory, quality result at the close of the project.
Program management is more about coordinating multiple ongoing projects at once. It takes a “bigger picture” view of company proceedings, rather than looking at the logistics of how to get a product or service to a customer. Program management looks at moving the business as a whole forward, while project management focuses on the nuts and bolts of the service or product provided by the company.
What Are the Benefits of Implementing Program Management Training?
Some people are naturally gifted at managing and leading company projects, but not all are cut out to be a program manager. However, there are many benefits to implementing some kind of program management training within your company, spanning in breadth from increasing margins to attracting better project managers to work for you. In the following section, we will cover some of the primary benefits of prioritizing program management training for your company.
Better Decision-Making and Decisive Action
Great leadership is often the result of a delicate balance of competence and confidence; one is not necessarily beneficial without the other. Truly inspiring leaders will understand when to take action, and when to sit back and observe as their team collaborates.
If you’re familiar at all with emergency response or military procedures, think of moving from a project manager to a program manager as moving up the chain of command. You will have a whole new series of challenges, goals, and choices to make than you did at the level of a project manager. This “leveling up” will add to your “slideshow” or knowledge base of experiences, contribute tools to your skillset, and provide an opportunity to expand in new directions—both professionally and personally.
By making the decision to invest in your project managers with program management training, you are equipping them with a whole new perspective on how to approach problem-solving, collaboration, and leadership strategies—which typically makes them more decisive and adaptable in the long-term.
Higher Project Success Rate
While you might think that investing in project management training alone is enough to warrant more success in your company endeavors, a recent study from the Project Management Institute (PMI) showed that those who went through program management training were 22% more likely to succeed with managing their projects. While this number might not seem enormous to some, when it comes to increasing margins and protecting your bottom line, that 22% can make the difference between moving the company forward and moving in the wrong direction—or worse, plateauing and becoming complacent.
Improved Company Culture
Higher success rates mean higher morale—and increased training means more autonomous employees, which also means higher morale. Not only can this have a dramatic impact on productivity, but it may also help with employee retention and attract talent to your organization as well. Once you begin to raise the bar, you inspire those around you to rise to the occasion; this can have a ripple effect throughout the whole company that may even reverberate out and inspire others in your industry to collaborate with you or to come work for you.
Deeper Understanding of Leadership Duties
By expanding your knowledge of what it takes to bring multiple coordinated projects to completion, you will be adding new skills and awareness to your understanding of what it means to be a leader in your industry. With program management training, you can not only solidify your role as a leader, but you can also inspire project managers to come up behind you as well. The deeper your understanding of your responsibilities as a leader, the wiser and more compassionately you can act when it comes to taking care of your team.
Higher Situational Awareness for Company Changes and Policies
Taking on problem-solving at the program level raises a whole new set of questions. The more you are able to understand what makes the company succeed, the better able you will be to manage your team. Plus, with additional program management training, you are likely to see an increase in responsibility—and with it, an increase in salary or job title.
How Do I Become a Better Program Manager?
This is an excellent question to ask yourself, whether you have many years of program management experience under your belt or if you are just starting out. When was the last time you added to your skillset of certifications, management courses, or other educational opportunities? Looking for opportunities for career advancement through organizations like PMLG can be a great way to stay current on industry trends, add to your tool kit, and solidify the leadership qualities that you already possess.
Program Management Training with PMLG
Many businesses invest in project management training, but fewer go that extra mile and implement program management training as well. While the two share the common goal of moving the company forward, they do so from different perspectives: one with an up-close lens on delivering results to a client and the other with an eagle eye view on progressing the company forward as a whole, seeking continuous improvement and expansion.