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Business portfolios, programs, and projects

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First, I would like to define projects, a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result (Schwalbe, p.G.9). When identifying projects to undertake, I recall from the reading (Schwalbe, 2014) that all projects have a definite start time and a definite stopping point. We can see in figure 4-1 (Schwalbe, p. 141) the project process goes from initiating to closing. Here we also see a specific project start time and a specific project finish point. This example fits with the definition of temporary. Also, a project has a multi-disciplinary team brought together for the project (Larubes, 2011). How this differs from other work is that a project is temporary and not continuous. I can look at an example from Everett (n.d.) where she showed how creating a letting policy for an apartment or a home is a project but the day to day operations is done by an individual, so the day to day operation would not be a project.

I think in giving my examples, I will use the automotive industry. The dealership may decide to begin a project to provide better sound systems in vehicles marketed to younger drivers or maybe start a project to upgrade their Web site to show all the vehicles for sale in virtual view to help bring in additional customers who already know what they want. I would not consider either the use of the vehicle you just leased to be a project because that is the day to day operation of the vehicle; perhaps drawing up the lease would be considered a project though. And the same for taking possession of the vehicle after the sale is complete. All the paperwork you have to sign prior to taking the vehicle is part of a project but once you have the vehicle; it would be considered continuous operation and no longer part of the project.

Where projects and programs differ would be, as stated above, a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result (Schwalbe, p.G.9) while a program is "a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually", Schwalbe, p. 17). How I interpret the difference between the two is that projects are completed individually and programs are the grouping of projects to help with management or staffing of similar projects.

Finally, the difference between programs and portfolio's is pretty significant. Earlier I defined program as "a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually" (Schwalbe, p. 17). In defining portfolio, is "organizations group and manage projects and programs as a portfolio of investments that contribute to the entire enterprise's success (Schwalbe, p. 17). This is where the strategic goals come in. Portfolio managers will use analytical skills and their financial backgrounds to help identify which programs make the most financial sense to spend money on in regards to return on investment. Tactical goals (programs or projects) are more short-term while strategic goals (portfolio's or portfolio management) are more long term. An example might be that a tactical goal is to upgrade a system while a strategic goal might be to construct a new wing in order to increase overall capacity.
Schwalbe, K. (2014). Information Technology Project Management (7th ed.). Boston, MA: 2014 Course Technology, Cengage Learning.

Everett, C. (n.d.). Project Management Questions and Answers. Retrieved from http://www.spottydog.u-net.com/guides/faq/faq.html

Larubes, J. (2011, March 22). Project Management: How is a project different to any other work? Retrieved from http://jezrellelarubes-projectmanagement.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-is-project-different-to-any-other.html

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An ability to create effective programs within a business organization is mandatory for ensuring that the businesses have well defined ...

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This solution discusses business essentials.

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