The difference between a project and a program.

It is possible to arrive at the destination only when the course of movement is correctly set, and all participants know where and why they are going. The project and program are categories of Western management, where special attention is paid to competent planning. How to understand the difference between them and what are the differences?


Draft - an interconnected set of activities and processes, the main goal of which is the implementation of a large-scale task. Its main attributes are the availability of deadlines, resources, mission. The implementation of the project can be calculated quantitatively as well as qualitatively (the set goals have been achieved or failed).

Program is a group of projects united by a single purpose, management, resources, mission. Their result is a qualitative change in state caused by the implementation of the planned tasks. The healthcare development program involves the implementation of a number of projects: the construction of hospitals, research, staff training and much more.


So, the most important difference between these concepts is their scale. The program is several projects united by one goal. It is not measured quantitatively, but qualitatively and involves a change in state. The timeframe for the implementation of the project, as a rule, is rigidly determined, and their postponement will inevitably affect the implementation of the program.

There are also differences in the complexity of the implementation of the tasks. The implementation of the project seems to be easier, since for success it is enough to achieve the goals by a certain period of time. The program is just a hypothesis (the fight against alcoholism or drug addiction), which must be confirmed in practice. Not always interconnected projects and their successful implementation lead to a change in state, and the result may turn out to be unpredictable altogether.


  1. The scope of the concept. A program is a broader concept that includes a set of projects.
  2. Duration. The timeframe for the implementation of the program is broad, the project is specific and measurable.
  3. Result. The project is implemented when the planned activities are completed by the specified date. The result of the program is a change in state, an impact on the situation. Thus, even its partial implementation may be successful, and the resulting effect may exceed all expectations.
  4. Complexity. The implementation of the program is more difficult than the implementation of the project, since all the components of the task need to be coordinated.