Series on Categorizing Projects and Programs: Program/Project Types


By Alan Stretton

Sydney, Australia


This is the third of a series of four working/discussion papers on categorizing projects and programs. The context of these papers is overall categorizations as they have appeared in the literature. These currently vary widely, and this series is concerned with exploring possibilities for bringing them closer together. The aim is to stimulate discussion and to encourage feedback, which might hopefully lead to the development of more widely acceptable and accepted categorizations.

The first paper (Stretton 2014f) focused on project categorizations, and the second (Stretton 2014g) on program categorizations. In both cases existing categorizations were found to be a mixture of industrial/ social sectors (Application Sectors) in which programs/projects are undertaken (e.g. aerospace, defence), and types of programs/ projects (Program/ Project Types) which are undertaken in many, if not most, of these Application Sectors (e.g. IT projects, R&D projects).

In each case the components of the categorizations were re-allocated into Application Sectors and Program/Project Types, and presented as a matrix illustrating the intersections between them. It was evident that some of the Program/Project Types were much more immediately relevant to some Application Sectors than to others. It would appear to be potentially useful to establish the nature and importance of such relevancies, and thence, hopefully, develop a better understanding of how individual Program/Project Types can benefit through sharing inter-Application-Sector data.

It was further identified that programs and projects shared five key Program/ Project Types. It was also noted that the listings of Application Sectors and Program/Project Types found so far are very incomplete. This series is somewhat more concerned with categorizations of Program/Project Types, and this third paper will discuss these further, and extend the listing of these Types. 


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Editor’s note: This series of articles on the categorization of projects and programs is by Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon), Life Fellow of AIPM (Australia), a pioneer in the field of professional project management and one of the most widely recognized voices in the practice of program and project management.   Long retired, Alan is still accepting some of the most challenging research and writing assignments; he is a frequent contributor to the PM World Journal. See his author profile below

About the Author

alan-strettonAlan Stretton, PhD flag-australia      

Faculty Corps, University of Management

and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)

Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia) 

Alan Stretton is one of the pioneers of modern project management. He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA. In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects. He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France). Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992. He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996. He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management. He has published over 140 professional articles and papers. Alan can be contacted at [email protected].

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/