What is a project?
A project is an effort with a start date and end date and have a definite end result.In case we are developing a software it will have a start date and an end date.It will also have a result that is the software designed.
What is a Program?
A program will have set of projects running to achieve a common business goal or objective.For example space program, railway development program.There will be multiple teams, projects and bodies working towards success of the program. When we take a program into hand what are the things we should start with?
The first thing to start with the program goal, the mission of the program.What are we trying to achieve here.In my case our aim was to reduce the number of calls to the help desk, by diverting the users to a self help portal.Similarly when you are given a program to manage, speak with the brass on what they are trying to achieve in this.
Once the mission is clear - what's next?
The next thing to search or collate is the stakeholder list.Who are involved at what level.Prepare a communication plan for the program.
Now understand the process, the different elements of the effort. Take a knowledge transfer session from the other program managers and team.
Talk with the team
Once you are aware with the process and the efforts put in. Speak with the team and understand them, their problems, their strong points and areas for improvement. Sync with the team, in many cases you may not be in a position to interact with all of them, in these scenerios talk to their leads.
Start the good work
Now with these things you can start the good work.