What is the difference between a Project and a Programme?

I am always being asked what the difference is between a Project and a Programme and whilst there may be lots of debates around this the answer is quite simple.
The debates are usually around the kudos of a programme (and the title of Programme Manager) over a project however, many projects can be far more complex than some programmes, and can control budgets far greater than that of programme.
A project is a temporary organisation setup to deliver a benefit to the business whether it be additional profit, compliance or improved efficiencies. Projects deliver benefits of which it needs all its workstreams to deliver for the business to deliver the benefit.
Whereas a programme has two or more projects which can be deliver business benefits independently, however these are intrinsically linked and the desire of the business is for the benefits to be delivered and managed together. Generally there will be functional workstreams such as IT & Business Readiness which run alongside the projects to support the delivery of the projects.

For example the implementation of a new ERP system could involve millions of pounds worth of investment last several years and involve most areas within a business however; the delivery of the ERP system has to be delivered as a whole to deliver the business case.
In another example a company wish to setup a programme to reduce their telephony costs, this could involve two projects, one for landlines and one for mobiles, working with the same or a different provider. This may only save the company ½ million pounds and involve just a few areas within the business however; the delivery of either of the projects will deliver a benefits to the business.

So in answer to the question, what is the difference between a project and a programme, is not necessarily the size or complexity but, it is based around the business case and whether elements of the business case can be delivered in isolation.

What is interim management?

Interim Management – Bringing flexibility

An interim executive, with relevant experience and a good track record, can be the answer to a company’s prayers. Interim management is a relatively new industry with great potential for making the most of today’s fast-moving business climate. The concept was created by the Dutch in the 1970s as a way of injecting much needed flexibility into the market place. At the time, companies faced long notice periods for employees, so changing their most expensive people – the management – was difficult without incurring large costs. The model was adopted enthusiastically in the UK during the late 1980s.

Interim Management - Bringing expertise

Today, we operate perhaps the most sophisticated interim management services in the world, with executives and managers covering a wide variety of roles at different levels of expertise and within various technical areas. These include:

  • adding new skills on a part time basis
  • plugging a gap created by a sudden departure;
  • managing acquisitions;
  • project management;
  • effecting culture change;
  • setting up new businesses and closing down old ones;
  • mentoring and team development;
  • crisis management;
  • turning round an ailing business.

The best exponents of interim management are already proving that, used effectively, they can be worth their weight in gold.