What is a project and what is a programme?

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Definition‘A project is a temporary organization that is created for the purpose of delivering one or more business products according to an agreed Business Case.’‘A programme is a temporary flexible organization structure created to coordinate, direct and oversee the implementation of a set of related projects and activities to deliver outcomes and benefits relating to an organization’s strategic objectives.
CharacteristicsDriven by deliverables Has a defined start and end (finite)Bounded and scoped deliverables Delivers product or outcome Benefits usually realized after project closure Shorter timescaleDriven by a desired ‘end state’ vision for the business No predefined path Delivers changes to the business capability Coordination of products/outcomes of a number of related projects Benefits realized during the programme and afterwards Longer timescale (may have a lifespan of several years)
Management focusDetailed specification of how product/s will be created and delivered Control of activities to produce products High-level specification (of why/what) Stakeholder management Benefits realization Manages dependencies between related project Managers change acceptance and transition management Integration with corporate strategies


  1. Using PRINCE2™ and MSP® Together by Andy Murray (TSO, 2010)
  2. Managing Successful Programmes (TSO, 2007)
  3. Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 (TSO, 2009)