A program is a set of instructions or steps that a computer or other device follows in order to complete a specific task. The term “program” can be used to describe any kind of software or application, but it is most commonly applied to the kind of software that runs on a personal computer.
The basic difference between programs and projects is that programs are more strategic. They focus on delivering benefits rather than producing deliverables.
Programs tend to be larger and more diverse than projects, requiring teams of people with different skills. This can lead to higher levels of uncertainty.
They can also be more complex, requiring a lot of coordination and attention to detail. Projects, on the other hand, typically have a defined scope and objectives.
When working on a project, you may have to develop detailed plans for resources, cost, timeliness and delivery. These plans help you determine if the project is on track to meet its goals.
In a program, however, all the projects are coordinated and managed together to produce outcomes that are beneficial for the organization. This is a good way to minimize the risk of individual projects failing to achieve their objectives.
A program can be used to support a wide range of initiatives, from policies to culture change to new capabilities. It can also be used to implement business process changes that may not be possible to accomplish on a standalone basis.
This type of program is often a combination of several separate projects, and it can have strong sponsorship from senior leadership. The goal is to develop a set of new policies or processes that will improve the business.
These programs are usually driven by external circumstances, such as legal or regulatory requirements. For example, a company could be required to comply with GDPR regulations or a government initiative to transition to a cashless economy.
They can be a very effective way to monitor compliance, and they can generate buy-in from employees and departments. These are also often a good way to demonstrate the importance of compliance and the impact it can have on a business.
There are also many other kinds of programs, including voluntary ones. These can be designed to provide a benefit to the community or the world at large.
Examples of voluntary programs are education and training initiatives. They can also include research and infrastructure development.
Another common program is a business strategy. This can include a set of goals that the business has identified in a strategy session or by analyzing current operations.
A business strategy is the blueprint for the future direction of an organization, and it includes a number of activities that will be carried out to make that vision a reality. A business strategy can be created in a high-level meeting, but it cannot be fully implemented without the necessary projects to make it a reality.
The program manager gathers a portfolio of projects and coordinates them to help the company achieve its overall goals. The end result is an organized and bird’s-eye view of all the company’s activities. This helps draw attention to any bottlenecks and inefficiencies that might be hampering the company’s progress.