Program success criteria or deliverables are benefits that are aligned to the organization's strategic plan, objectives, priority, vision, and mission. Now, the project is performed as part of the program because they produce either incremental or consolidated benefits to the organization not because the sponsor of these discrete projects is the same or the technology, PMIS, resources such as facility, human, processes, equipment’s, materials, etc. utilized by these projects are same.
For example, the Metro railway program which has a few of the following projects.
1. Laying of metro railway track
2. Laying of overhead wiring
3. Metro railway security system
4. Metro railway ticketing system
5. Procurement or development of railway coach, etc.,
Now each project here can be performed by separate vendors, may or may not have a common sponsor, technology, processes, etc.., but these are performed as part of the program because when the output of all these projects gets integrated as a whole then they will produce benefits to the organization. This benefit from the metro railway program can reduce travel time between point A to point Z.
Now consider another project in the organization “Development of the cycle track in the city”. This project will not be performed as part of the metro railway program even if the technology, resources, and sponsoring group going to funds this project and the metro railway program is the same. This project will be done as part of an infrastructure portfolio rather than a metro railway program of infrastructure portfolio.
To conclude, the project may or may not be part of the program but they are definitely part of the organization portfolio. Project is done as part of the program when they are related with benefits otherwise they are performed as part of the portfolio even in the case projects have the same sponsor, technology, and other organizational resources.