Projects, Programs, and Portfolios: PMP Topics to Understand

You need to know the basics of programs and portfolios for the PMP exam. But wait, you only want to be a PMP, not a PgMP (Program Management Professional) or PfMP (Portfolio Management Professional)! Don’t worry, this article will teach you all you need to know about what little you need to know about Programs and Portfolios.

projects programs and portfolios

This future PMP knows the difference between projects, programs and portfolios. Do you?

What’s the Difference Between Projects, Programs, and Portfolios?

Remember that a “project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources” (PMI). A project is the smallest of the 3 Ps.

A program is made up of interrelated projects. Programs may also have additional scope, in addition to the scopes of all of the projects. So programs are made up of interrelated projects and then some!

A portfolio on the other hand, may or may not have interrelated projects and programs. A portfolio could be made up of all unrelated projects, or it could be made up on many programs and projects that are interrelated. The key difference between a program and a project is that a program must be interrelated, while a portfolio doesn’t need to be.

Here’s an Example

Remember this example when you encounter your one or few questions regarding program or portfolio management on your example.

Your project management office (PMO) at a fast food chain is involved in a variety of projects across the organization and business lines.

One of your current projects is developing a new cheeseburger to sell in your burger joints across the country. Another project is developing a new type of salads to sell in your upscale salad restaurants. You also have a project designing a new type of hot dog to sell at hot dog stand at ballparks around the country.

Your program, then, consists of designing new menu items for restaurants. While the new menu items are separate and for different restaurants, you can develop organizational efficiencies by looking at these projects as units within a program.

Your portfolio might include all of the projects you are working on across the organization, including but not limited to designing new menu items. Menu items are one program, and you might also be implementing new automated ordering touchscreens at your burger joints. All of your projects and programs together make up your portfolio.

Another PMBOK term: Organizational project management (OPM) uses project, program, and portfolio management, as well practices and strategy that allow an organize to perform at its best and develop competitive advantage.

Projects, programs, portfolios, oh my! Got questions? We’re here to help!

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One Response to Projects, Programs, and Portfolios: PMP Topics to Understand

  1. hira manzoor December 18, 2017 at 3:07 am #

    suggest me a topic for mphil thesis domainion portfolio management

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