NASA Definitions of Program and Project
Policies and detailed implementation procedures for program and project management in NASA are given in NASA Handbook 7120.5, Management of Major System Programs and Projects Handbook, dated November 1993. Included in the Handbook are definitions of program and project relevant to the Future of Space Science Study. They are quoted in the following:
Project. A defined, time-limited activity with clearly established objectives and boundary conditions executed to gain knowledge, create a capability, or provide a service as part of an overall development program. A project typically encompasses design, development, fabrication, test, and as applicable, operation of advanced hardware and software, including data collection, distribution, and analysis and reporting of results.
Program. A related series of undertakings that continue over a period of time (normally years), which are designed to pursue or are in support of a focused scientific or technical goal, and which are characterized by: design, development and operations of systems; relatively high funding levels; firm schedules; and firm technical and/or scientific objectives. Programs are typically planned and executed as a series of individual projects or as a group of projects to provide a major system capability.
Major Program/Project. A program/project for system(s) development that:
Is directed at and critical to fulfilling an agency mission;
Entails the allocation of relatively large resources; or
Warrants special management attention.
The above include but are not limited to:
All programs/projects for which external agency reporting on a regular basis is required;
All multiple field installation programs; and
All projects whose DCC's (Development Cost Commitments) exceed $200 million.