A programme is a temporary, flexible organisation created to coordinate, direct and oversee the implementation of a set of related projects and activities in order to deliver outcomes and benefits related to the organisation’s strategic objectives. A programme is likely to have a life that spans several years.
A project is also a temporary organisation, usually existing for a much shorter duration, which will deliver one or more outputs in accordance with a specific business case.
A particular project may or may not be part of a programme. Programmes deal with outcomes; projects deal with outputs. Programme management and project management are complementary approaches. During a programme lifecycle, projects are initiated, executed, and closed. Programmes provide an umbrella under which these projects can be coordinated. The programme integrates the projects so that it can deliver an outcome greater than the sum of its parts.
Programme management does not replace the need for competent project direction and management.