On the Subject of Programs



By Stanislaw Gasik

9 August 2023

Ref:      Kerzner, H. and Zeitoun, A. (2023). The Program Way, The Great Project Management Accelerator, series article, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue VIII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/pmwj132-Aug2023-Kerzner-Zeitoun-the-program-way.pdf

Dear David,

When reading the August issue of PM World Journal, a paper by Dr. Kerzner and Dr. Al. Zeitoun caught my attention. This is a very interesting paper. However, I have one general comment. What is a program? You were kind enough to publish my papers on programs, especially in public administration, in the February, March, and April issues of PM World Journal (Gasik 2023a, 2023b, 2023c). Since programs are the most important units of work in public administration, you can also find a considerable amount of information on this topic in my book “Projects, Government, and Public Policy” (Gasik, 2023d).

For the Project Management Institute (PMI, 2017) and the Authors of the discussed article, a program may consist only of projects.

But as I wrote in the February article (Gasik, 2023a):

In the public administration environment, a program is a set of instruments that implement a certain public policy (e.g. Howlett and Rayner, 2013; Barnett and Shore, 2009). Instruments can be in the nature of continuous processes (e.g., tax collection) or projects (e.g., road construction). An even broader definition, which does not limit the concept of a program to public administration, says that it is “a set of related measures or activities with a particular long-term goal” (https://brainly.com/question/20451510). Also, the Merriam-webster dictionary indicates that it is adequate for our discussion to understand this concept as “a plan or system under which action may be taken toward a goal” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/program).

I will call it the “General definition (of program)”.

If we assume that projects are “instruments” or “a set of related measures” or “actions” in the general definitions, then the PMI definition meets the general definition – but not the other way around. PMI program is a special case of the general program.


To read entire Letter to the Editor, click here

How to cite this work: Gasik, S. (2023). On the Subject of Programs, Letter to the Editor, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue IX, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/pmwj133-Sep2023-Gasik-on-the-subject-of-programs-Letter-to-Editor-2.pdf