As regular readers will know, last month we published a book excerpt that provided a valuable Primer on Program Management. This reference starts out with an excellent and detailed definition of Program Management as it applies to large and complex construction undertakings. But since then, I have been thinking about the definition of the term Program Management in general and concluded that there appears to be no well established, effective but succinct definition of the term in general.
So I turned to the offerings on my famous Glossary of Project Management Terms and extracted the three definitions that I felt were most complete yet succinct. Why three? Because there appear to be three distinct sets of circumstances that embody the essence of a program situation. I then sent all three off to my good friend Darya Dumar who has direct personal experience in this area.
Here is what I sent to her:
Any one of:
- A portfolio of projects selected and planned in a coordinated way so as to achieve a set of defined objectives, giving effect to various (and often overlapping) initiatives and/or implementing a strategy.
- A single, large or very complex project, or
- A set of otherwise unrelated projects bounded by a business cycle. 
Program Management ("PgM")
The effective management of a program that may cover any or all of the following:
- A portfolio of projects related to some common objective;
- An organization's business strategy which is to be implemented through projects;
- The interdependencies between a number of projects, and
- Resource allocation amongst a portfolio of projects. [D03742]
- The governance and harmonized management of a number of projects and other actions to achieve targeted benefits and create value for the program sponsors in the short term, change recipients in the medium term, and the organization in the long term. [D06930]