Program Manager Vs Project Manager: Key Differences?

Program Manager Image

Even though program managers and project managers might sound similar, they have distinct roles in agile methodology. (an approach in project management that involves splitting the project into different phases to enhance productivity and meet timelines). While a program manager collaborates with agile teams and motivates them to work together, a project manager oversees the entire project and ensures successful project execution. Let us explore program manager vs project manager: key differences in this blog.

Who is a program manager?

Programs refer to a collection of underlying, interconnected projects; therefore a program manager strategically handles multiple projects at the same for the benefit of the organization. 

Who is a project manager?

A project manager predominantly enhances healthy communication between team members and stakeholders while ensuring the project is on track. In short, they strategize and motivate the team to successfully handle a project, which could be a product. Project Managers collaborate with program managers to develop a project plan. 

Program manager vs project manager: Key Differences

  • Program manager vs project manager: Difference in their responsibilities

The key responsibilities of both these profiles vary in many ways. A project manager takes care of small projects that are a major contribution to the program advancements. Essentially, a project manager executes the project effectively by adhering to strict deadlines and managing budgets and resources. 

The program manager, on the other hand, designs programs and objectives according to the company’s needs. They collaborate with stakeholders and team up with project managers to execute the project efficiently. Their main responsibility involves generating project road maps, budgets for the projects, and schedules. 

  • Program manager  vs project manager: skill needed 

Often the skills needed for both the profiles are almost similar. Both, program managers and project managers must hone effective communication skills along with process-oriented and strategic thinking abilities. Furthermore, they must also be aware of the agile methodology. Additionally, a program manager must think on a broader level as he needs to focus on the macro-level aspects of multiple projects. Moreover, he must handle interrelated projects to accomplish company goals. 

  • Program manager vs project manager: ( Difference in their goals)

The goals of both profiles are also quite different from each other. program managers’ goals are more strategic, they essentially focus on the company’s program objectives and bring value to its stakeholders. On the other hand, project managers, carry out the daily activities of a project to make sure the team meets project goals.

 More specifically, they focus on resources, budget, and deliverables of the project. In short, a project manager ensures the project meets deadlines, while a program manager oversees each project to make sure it enhances the growth of the organization.

  • Program manager vs project manager: ( Tools required)

Both profiles need professionals to be well aware of program manager software to estimate success and analyze progress. In addition, they should be familiar with content management systems and tools like the RCAI chart, which will help in describing the work to team members. Program managers, exclusively, should be well-versed in work management solutions as they need to effortlessly handle multiple projects at a time. 

Program manager vs project manager: career path

Both profiles play an important role in the growth of the company. The program manager and project manager, usually work together to execute projects efficiently. However, they need appropriate skills to be successful in their respective positions. Since program management is a complex profile, skills like leadership, communication, and technical expertise are utmost necessary along with management knowledge. 

An efficient and promising way to turn into a program manager is by beginning a career as a project manager, who focuses on one project at a time. Expertise in handling single projects enhances the chances of becoming a program manager who can focus on multiple projects at once. To begin the journey as a project manager, one must enroll in a project management course to gain proper skills. Kodakco is one of the finest e-learning platforms to take a project management course. 

Their course is uniquely curated by professionals working in international companies. Enroll in their course and avail yourself of an opportunity to learn from professionals with more than 10 years industry experience. Also, nurture knowledge in leadership, team management, and project analytics along with analytical thinking. Most of all, you will hone your time management skills, contributing to your overall productivity. Also, you can avail of their placement support who offer personalized assistance to help you find your dream job.


To conclude, both project management and program management fields typically focus on efficient project execution. while a project manager is usually responsible for overseeing a single project at a time; a program manager is responsible for numerous projects at once. When both these professionals collaborate, they can smoothly execute projects.

FAQ’s on Program manager vs Project manager:


  • Can a project manager become a program manager?

Ans. Yes, usually, a program manager starts his career as a project manager. During this period he can gain expertise that will allow him to become a program manager.

  • How does one begin the journey in project management?

Ans. To embark on the journey as a project manager one must have all the necessary skills, which one can learn through a project management course.

  • How is program management different from project management?

Ans. Project management, typically involves working on one project at a time. Program management, on the contrary, involves dealing with several projects at a time.

  • What does one learn through a project management course? 

Ans. Besides many other important skills, one learns critical skills like time management, risk management, and excellent communication through a project management course.

  • Are program managers senior to project managers?

Ans. It depends on the company’s reporting hierarchy. In some companies, a project manager reports to the program manager, while in other companies they collaborate. 

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