Differences Between Program Manager and Project Manager

Source: projectmanager

These both the terms, Program Manager and Project Manager sound similar but contain two very different roles. Each term is set with its fundamental uniqueness, challenges, and goals. There are many key differences between both the project manager and program manager.

If you look at both of these terms as a future career or thinking of how these terms may work better together, then you must know their role differences. You should also know that both of these terms follow PMP and to know more about PMP Certification Training.

Here, in this article, we have discussed both the program manager and project manager along with their role differences in the field of project management. First of all, let’s begin with the explanation of the term program and project.

Program: The program helps in contributing to the long-term goals as it has to keep the collection of the projects. The program helps in bringing strategic benefits and organizational growth to the management.

Project: Project comprises of short-term goals that could turn into derivable. They are temporary and are limited to costs, time, resources, and budget.

Now, after getting familiar with the program and project, let’s have the information about the major role differences between the program manager and project manager.

Program Manager

Source: wrike

The project Manager is one who shows how to impact the business by articulating the program’s strategy and objectives. They have to define and oversee the list of the project that needs to reach their overall program’s goal.

In project management, there is a person who handles a set of projects, called a program manager. He should always have a backup plan and a master solution to every upcoming challenge in the project.

Responsibilities of Program Manager

Generally, a program manager holds a lot of serious and more responsibilities than the project manager. Therefore, there are some of the key responsibilities for the completion of successful projects on time and within budgets. They include:

  • Project Governance
  • Managing the project
  • Project tracking
  • Infrastructure
  • Budgeting
  • Alignment
  • Integration

Project Manager

Source: liquidplanner

The project management contains the PMBOK guide, and according to that, a project manager is a person that is assigned for leading the team having responsibilities of achieving the objectives of the project.

The project manager has the responsibility of developing and maintaining the project and its document business case. PRINCE2 certification has the proper training to be an outstanding project manager.

To ensure the project management documents, one should always work with the appropriate program manager along with proper program documents. The project manager has to report to the Project Management Office depending upon the structure of the organization.

Responsibilities of Project Manager

  • Achieve Vision
  • Delivering successful outcomes
  • Manage project scope, schedule and resources
  • Managing and assembling the project team and its performance
  • Has cellular levels

A project manager has a lot of responsibilities as they have to manage all the work as a leader. PMP teaches to have a look at all the happenings of the project such as deliveries of the project along with its budget and time.

The key difference between the Program Manager and Project Manager

Source: pacifictraining

Program manager

  1. The program manager handles the sets of projects.
  2. Depends on organizational government.
  3. This is an ongoing process.
  4. It has a direct impact on organizations.
  5. It has encompassed the scope of its program components.
  6. It is influenced by market trends and driven by organization strategy.

Project Manager

  1. The project manager leads and manages the project of project management.
  2. This runs on project governance.
  3. It contains proper and definite starting and ending of the project.
  4. The impact on the organization’s balance sheet is less.
  5. It has definite objectives and scopes.
  6. Change management is needed for its running.

Role Differences between the Program Manager and Project Manager

Source: liquidplanner

Program Manager

  1. It is strategic.
  2. Planning of program level activities is done.
  3. It controls all the program stages.
  4. Used for resolving resource conflicts.
  5. Has outline program standards.
  6. Manages risk and issues at the program level.
  7. Framing of the policies and the procedures are done for the project.

Project Manager

  1. It is tactical.
  2. Planning of program and their dependencies are conducted.
  3. It controls the projects and all its constraints.
  4. It uses the assigned resources for the project.
  5. Has agreed on standards through which product or service delivery is conducted.
  6. Manage project risk and issues and reports to the program manager if necessary.
  7. Running of the project is done as per the set-in policies and procedures.

As you know, PMP is one of the most preferable projects management courses, it helps a project manager a lot to attain a big success in the project.

If you are a project manager or want to be, then you should have a PMP or PRINCE2 certification course as both of them are equally used by the industries.

Now, let me get you familiar with some techniques and tools that are being used by both, program manager and project manager for the encounter of many same challenges and benefits.

Similar Challenges and Different role of Program Manager and Project Manager

Source: theinsurer


It is said to be a clear view of the assigned task statuses. It shows the working of an individual and should be used by both program and project manager. Through PRINCE2, you can get a bird’s eye view and the ability to draw down the project when something went wrong.


Many of the programs can have similar projects. And every project also contains ad content. So, here it becomes very necessary for the project and program manager to templatize their work. It helps to have success from the duplicate past as well.

In-context Collaboration

It becomes difficult to keep track of every asset and updates regarding the project. To find all the details through emails and spreadsheets would be counted as a waste of time. So, if all the details are kept as a single document or file then it would be extremely helpful.

From this, one can notice that the roles of program and project managers are different but still at some point they tend to face the same challenges. So, for that, this would be extremely helpful to project management.

Thus, the overall study of the role differences shows that the program manager has broader roles to play and has higher responsibilities as compared to the project manager. Both the managers have their own contribution and I hope the differences helped you to have a clear image of both parts of project management.