Computer programs are a set of instructions that tell a computer how to perform a certain task. They are used to manipulate data, such as numbers or text, and can also be used to display information on a screen.
In the context of computer programming, a program is a collection of source code files that executes in an operating system and communicates with other programs through the application programming interface (API). A computer program typically uses a high-level language, such as C or Java, for its design and development.
A program is a computer software application that can be installed in computers, mobile phones, and other devices. It can be written in a high-level or low-level language, and it may be stored in the memory of a computer or on an external device.
The most important function of a program is to control the flow of work in the computer. This includes managing data storage and access, determining which tasks to perform, and coordinating with other programs.
Another function of a program is to manage the execution of user programs. This can include scheduling them for execution and allowing the user to suspend programs when they are not needed.
This allows the user to focus on other jobs while the program is running. Depending on the type of program, it can be run interactively, such as through an interpreter or web browser, or in a batch mode, which runs and then stops without displaying anything to the user.
The purpose of a program is to deliver a desired result, such as a new product or service. The goal of a program is to achieve this result in the most efficient way possible.
A program can be a standalone activity, such as writing a game or a robot, or it can be a part of a larger project. For example, a program can be the foundation of a project that involves many other projects, such as a companywide re-engineering of business processes.
Unlike project management, which can be a one-off activity that lasts only a few months, programs are usually longer. They have a higher degree of complexity and are often connected to strategic initiatives.
As a result, program management requires a holistic perspective on all aspects of the initiative and its impact on other business activities. It also requires that program managers be able to solve problems — or connect people who can solve them — and plan for mitigating risks across the entire initiative.
The Program Management Institute notes that mature organizations with program management practices experience higher levels of organizational success than those without them. This is due to the ability of program management to help align strategic goals, manage project interdependencies, and mitigate risk across the whole initiative.
A program consists of multiple projects that are bound together by common characteristics, such as size, scope, and strategy. This allows programs to achieve organizational-level objectives, such as improving business operations or introducing a new technology.