Program management: Different from project management

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Many enterprise IT organizations are tackling large, complex efforts that combine the delivery of software elements, new and changed business models, and overall changes to organizational structure and capabilities. Typically these efforts involve several parallel projects, and managers are finding that "traditional" project management approaches fall short for such undertakings. Consequently, many IT professionals are turning to the substantial body of experience, and the smaller body of documentation, that supports the discipline of program management. This discipline describes principles, strategies, and desirable results for managing large-scale efforts comprising parallel projects.

This article considers five major aspects of program management:

Governance: Defining roles and responsibilities, and providing oversight
Management: Planning and administering both projects and the overall program
Financial management: Implementation of specific fiscal practices and controls
Infrastructure: The program office, technology, and other factors in the work environment supporting the program effort
Planning: Activities that take place at multiple levels, with different goals. The program plan is not a traditional plan

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