Projects and programs are not the same thing. A project is something that has a beginning and an end. It’s execution-oriented and usually has a lower-level person assigned to it. A program, on the other hand, is usually ongoing and evolving with the eyes of senior management on it. This according to Kalev Peekna, Chief Strategist at One North Interactive, at the recent LMA conference.
When you think about projects and programs in this way, you can re-think how to scope budgets. More and more professional firms are moving to quarterly as opposed to annual budgets as they’re more predictable in terms of the amount of money being spent. It also means you don’t have to go to management with a big ask once a year. It’s easier (and more palatable) to go in for smaller amounts, quarterly.
When thinking about your program and budgets, it’s wise to scope to the budget – not budget to the scope. This means you’re looking at programs in terms of what you can do for the amount of money you have during a specific timeframe instead of thinking you can’t get started because you don’t have enough money for the grand plan, or having to abandon a grand plan, leaving it unfinished and ineffective because of an empty wallet.