How can I know whether it would be better to use a program vs. a parent project?
Its a functional choice only you can make ; but in Clarity terms, programs are just types of projects - many of the things you can do with a project you can also do with a program (risks,issues,changes, custom sub-objects etc), but crucially a program does not have a WBS of its own (tasks,milestones).
So if your "top-level-thing" has its own plan ; it needs to be a master-project ; if your "top-level-thing" is only a container for other projects (and you want to see the aggregation of those sub-projects) then it can be a program.
Best advice ; experiment a bit with your "real-world examples".
Agree with Dave it is your decision and experimenting will help.
The Differences Between Projects and Programs
Project Management User Guide
which might also help.
Great advice, thanks!
Mark W. Casey
IT-PMO Manager, Americas
Schenker Logistics, a Division of Schenker, Inc.
As David mentioned, it depends on the requirement. First identify if your "Parent" wants WBS and team to be created or it is just an umbrella. Once you are clear on this, you can use program or project as "Parent". Let us know if you have any other query on the same.
A good overview of definitions from various sources, and a conclusion: Program vs Project Management
I suspect that many companies think they are doing program management when in reality, they are not.
Projects launch something and are finished - they don't manage the benefits/revenues following a launch. Program Management includes the management of these post launch benefits/revenue, and also follow-on activities such as on-going support, change projects, etc.
Also, consider that CA PPM has other investment types, such as Products and Applications. You may want to consider that several projects might launch a Product, and that a Program might consist of several Products perhaps sold to the same customer for a common purpose. The launch projects close, but the Products remain open until their end of production - and the Program is used to group the related customer products and roll-up the financial costs and benefits.
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