How Program Management Differs From Project Management (#2 in the series Foundations, Frameworks and Lessons Learned in Program Management)
By Robert Prieto
Program management differs from project management in several fundamental ways as illustrated in the table below. In the simplest of terms, program management is the definition and integration of a number of projects to cause a broader, strategic business outcome to be achieved. Program management is not just the sum of all project management activities but also includes management of the risks, opportunities and activities that occur “in the white space” between projects. While an individual project will employ a specific project delivery approach (design-bid-build, design/build, DBOM etc), program management may combine different delivery approaches across multiple projects to best achieve the desired strategic business objectives.
|Parameter||Program Management||Project Management|
|Organization||Semi-permanent in nature, resourced to address the full range of business requirements associated with achievement of a strategic business objective. Resource requirements may be programmatic in nature and applied to all or major sets of projects undertaken to deliver the program||Transient organization in nature, resourced to address a limited set of requirements that may be more temporal in nature and not recurring through all project phases. Output oriented vs. outcome oriented|
|Organizational Alignment||Analogous to building a new company with a sharply defined strategic business objective. When existing owner organizations are adopting program management for the first time, organizational change management processes are an early activity to assure that owner elements understand their changed role in a program delivery approach||Team alignment around project and contract requirements. In joint venture or prime-sub project structures this alignment may include “cultural” alignment as well as team building activities|
|Outcome Definition||Strategic Business Outcome (enterprise viewpoint)||Defined scope, schedule and budget (output viewpoint)|
|Risk Management||Management of all risks associated with achievement of the defined strategic business objectives||Management of assumed risks|
|Requirements||Establish programmatic and system technical requirements and allocate as appropriate to individual projects||Manage project to meet the allocated programmatic and system technical requirements|
|Interface Management||Management of all programmatic interfaces between defined projects as well as other programmatic interfaces with stakeholder groups||Management of allocated interfaces, if any, and all interfaces within the assembled project team|
|Execution Planning||Program wide execution planning including top level schedule, budget, performance standards, supply chain configuration and contracting strategy||Project execution planning consistent with agreed to scope schedule, budget. and performance standards|
|Sequencing||Sequencing of programmatic activities including defined projects; re-sequencing of projects and other programmatic activities as required to achieve the desired strategic business outcome||Sequencing of project activities to achieve project execution requirements within any programmatic constraints imposed by contract|
|Timeframe||Through achievement of strategic business objectives (more permanent in nature)||Duration associated with completion of project activities|
|Stakeholder Engagement||Identification and integration of stakeholders’ interests and proactive engagement to assure achievement of strategic business objectives||Interaction with stakeholder groups only as contractually provided for|
Robert Prieto, Senior Vice President
Robert Prieto is senior vice president for Fluor, where he leads strategy for Fluor’s Industrial and Infrastructure group. Mr. Prieto focuses on the development and delivery of large, complex projects worldwide.
Prior to joining Fluor, Bob served as chairman of Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. As head of PB’s board of directors, he was responsible for overseeing management performance, establishing top-level policies, and ensuring the firm’s continued long term success.
He is a member of the executive committee of the National Center for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, a member of the board of directors of the Business Council on International Understanding, a member of the board of the Civil Engineering Forum for Innovation, and co-founder and member of the board of the Disaster Resource Network. He currently serves on the National Research Council’s committee framing the challenges on Critical Infrastructure Systems. Until 2006 he served as one of three U.S. presidential appointees to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and served as chairman of the Engineering and Construction Governors of The World Economic Forum and co-chair of the infrastructure task force formed after September 11th by the New York City Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the board of trustees of Polytechnic University of New York, and was previously selected as alumni of the year by its New York Chapter.
He has had an executive sponsorship role in the World Trade Center Transportation Hub; West Coast Rail Modernization; Train Protection and Warning System; Level 3 Communications Long Haul Network and Superconducting Super Collider.
Prieto holds a master of science in nuclear engineering from Polytechnic University of New York and a bachelor of science in nuclear engineering from New York University.
Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR) provides services on a global basis in the fields of engineering, procurement, construction, operations, maintenance and project management. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Fluor is a FORTUNE 500 company with revenues of $14.1 billion in 2006. For more information, visit www.fluor.com.