Projects, Programs, and Portfolios

Posted on September 9, 2009 by


A project is a “temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result” (fourth edition PMBOK®). Projects are often not single, isolated endeavors, but rather part of a larger undertaking. For example, Carl’s project may be to restore an old Mustang. But he and his team of siblings also have projects to restore a Thunderbird and a Model T that they are working on now. Coordinating their efforts among these three car restoration projects is their program. A program is a “group of related projects managed in a coordinated way.” Carl’s oldest brother is trying to use the family’s skills to start a restoration business. His strategy to maximize their profits will include the car restoration program, a boat restoration program, some bike projects and other work.  All of this will be included in a portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of “projects or programs and other work that are grouped together to facilitate effective management of that work to meet strategic business objectives.”