Lesson 1 – What is the difference between a project, a programme and a portfolio?

In this section, we will look at the difference between a project, a programme and a portfolio.

Fig. 1 What is the different between a project, program, and portfolio? Available at: https://acuityppm.com/ppm-101-what-is-project-portfolio-management/

A portfolio is a set of projects and/or programmes, which are not necessarily related (not necessarily having technological or organisational continuities with each other), brought together to provide  control, coordination and optimum use of the organisation’s resources (or parts of it) and to achieve the organisation’s strategic goals while minimising portfolio risk.  An example is a project office operating at the university.

A programme differs from a project in that it is larger and may consist of several projects. It is a series of projects with a similar objective, where the objectives of the programme together contribute to a common overall objective at sector, country or multi-country level. The programme includes grants and subsidies.

A project is a unique, temporary, multi-disciplinary and organized effort to realize agreed-upon outcomes within predetermined requirements and constraints. A project must achieve its goals and objectives within set deadlines (time), with precisely specified financial and personnel resources (cost), it looks at the outcome, which consists of a list of deliverables (scope) = the “trinity of constraints” of project management (time + money + scope = quality). 

Quality is not part of the project management triangle but is the ultimate goal of any delivery. An example of a project could be an EU-funded project.

Fig. 2 Project Management Triangle.  Available at:  https://www.tutorialspoint.com/management_concepts/project_management_triangle.htm

Lesson 1, Inspired by: https://ptbok.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/IPMA_ICB_4.0.pdf, IPMA: Individual Competence Baseline for Project, Programme & Portfolio Management


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