3.2 A broader interpretation of programme evaluation
The changes discussed above have clearly created an environment in one field of technology where the activities of governments have a far greater reach than many people might assume. In addition, in recent years the term programme has continued to gain currency in the commercial sector as a way to recognise and distinguish between the scale and scope of projects.
A project is a particular way of managing activities to deliver specific outputs over a specified period and within cost, quality and resource constraints.
A programme is a portfolio of projects that are co-ordinated and managed as a unit such that they achieve outcomes and realise benefits.
As Ward and Daniel (2006, p. 329) note, ‘... this [distinction] may sound trivial, but in many cases the word ‘‘programme’’ is used to ensure that appropriate senior management attention is paid to the investment, attention they would fail to give to a ‘‘mere’’ project.’ Whether this is actually what happens in practice is a moot point. Nevertheless, what is clear is that in the context of evaluation the term ‘programme’ now has two definitions. We can therefore no longer assume that a reference to programme evaluation refers to the evaluation of a government policy or intervention because it may also refer to the evaluation of a portfolio of technology projects.