Chapter 2

Key Concepts


Projects, Programs, and Portfolios

Project Life Cycles

Progressive Elaboration


Enterprise Environmental Factors

Organizational Process Assets

Projects, Programs, and Portfolios

The difference between a project and a program can sometimes be fuzzy. And the difference between a program and a portfolio of projects can also be confusing. Let’s start by looking at definitions for these words and then explore some additional key concepts in project management.

Project. A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.
Program. A group of related projects, subprograms, and program activities, managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually.
Portfolio. Projects, programs, subportfolios, and operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives.

Some people consider a program to be a jumbo-sized project. While this can be the case, it is not always true. For example, the Olympic Games could be considered a very large project with many subprojects. However, because of the size, cost, duration, and the sheer number of projects it takes to produce the Olympic Games, it is more like a collection of projects that is managed in a coordinated fashion—in other words, a program. Many of the projects are construction-related, many are production-related, many are ...

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