What does a program manager do? Jennifer Bridges, PMP, takes a deep dive and comes up with a description of their role and their responsibilities.
Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!
In Review – Program Manager Responsibilities:
Jennifer noted that she has already created a video tutorial on the difference between a project and a program manager, but she wanted to take a deeper look at the responsibilities of a program manager.
What Is a Program Manager?
First, Jennifer made the distinction between a project, which is singular, and a program, which is a collection of projects and even programs.
The program manager is therefore responsible for the delivery of the output/product of the program, which will involve managing a portfolio of projects and programs. They coordinate the teams who are working on the various projects. However, they don’t manage the individual projects. That’s the purview of the project manager.
Program Manager Responsibilities
Jennifer then detailed the duties of the program manager.
- They are responsible for the daily management through the life cycle of the program.
- They define the program controls, that is the processes, procedures, reporting, etc., to manage the program.
- They plan the overall program and monitor progress to make sure that milestones are being met across the various projects and programs.
- They manage the program budget.
- They manage the risks and issues that might and do arise over the course of the program life cycle, as well as take measures to correct them when they occur.
- They coordinate the projects and their interdependencies between the various projects and programs in the program.
- They manage and use resources across the various projects and programs in the program.
- They manage stakeholders who are involved in the projects and programs in the program.
- They make sure deliverables are aligned across the projects and programs in the program.
What Are the Skills and Attributes of a Program Manager?
What a program manager does is but the start. It’s how they do it that makes sure the work is successful. Jennifer noted that a program manager needs to have the following to make them ideal for the position:
- They need to have strong experience as a project manager of a large and complex project.
- They need to have a broad knowledge of project and program management methodologies.
- They need to understand the wider objectives of the program, such as business and strategic goals.
- They need to have an ability to work with a wide range of individuals.
- They need strong leadership and managerial skills with appropriate experience.
- They need a strong knowledge of budgeting and resource allocation procedures.
Jennifer stressed the complexity of managing a program. She recommended the use of a program management tool to help keep all those balls in the air.
Pro-Tip: Speaking of program management tools, they can help in many ways. From the dashboard, which gives an overview, an online Gantt chart to help with scheduling and a task management tool to reporting on the program, an online tool with real-time data is a godsend for the busy program manager.
Today, we’re talking about program manager responsibilities. Well, previously, we looked at the difference between a project manager and a program manager, but today’s session, we’re going to look deeper into what all the program manager does.
So if we look at the program, it’s a collection of projects and can even include a program or other programs with subprojects. So the program manager is responsible for the delivery of the output or the product of the program, and they coordinate the teams for all of the other projects but they don’t manage the specific projects.
So let’s look at the detailed responsibilities. So they head the daily program management throughout the program management lifecycle. They define the program controls. They plan the overall program and monitor the progress along the way.
They also manage the program budget and the risk and issues and take any kind of corrective actions. They coordinate the projects and the inter-dependencies between them. And then they manage and utilize the resources across the projects. They also work with and manage the stakeholders and align the deliverables.
So some of the skills and attributes that a program manager needs is, first and foremost, strong experience as a project manager of large and complex initiatives.
Think about it. The program can include multiple projects even with programs with subprojects. So you can see how it gets very complex just knowing how they interrelate with each other. Then a knowledge of program and project management methodologies, as well as an understanding of the wider objectives of the program.
So having a business acumen and strategic alignment to the organizational goals helps. Also the ability to work with a wide range of people because of all the different projects. It could be internal people. It could be external stakeholders, all different kinds of team members. It’s really a lot of different styles of people.
And then the leadership and management skills, as well as a knowledge of budgeting and resource allocation procedures.
So as you can see, it can get really complex. So if you need a tool to help you manage your program, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager.com.