The Role of the Program Manager

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In our experience, at Turlon & Associates, there is a lot of confusion as to the role of the Program Manager. Is it a Senior Project Manager, is it a Business Manager, is it a level of Project and Portfolio management. What is it you might ask; the role of the project manager is so well defined, it is not questioned. However the role of the Program Manager can have different connotations within different organisations. Come join us for our Virtual Program Management certification course on June 10th to find out more: –

Given this, the role of the program manager, should be to undertake some of the following responsibilities:

  • Overall management and co-ordination of the program, its projects and their interdependencies.
  • Contributing to strategy, policy and procedure.
  • Managing supplier/consultancy/contractual relationships.
    • Developing and maintaining a detailed program plan.
    • Budgetary control of the program of projects.
    • Managing project outputs in line with the program plan.
    • Detailed program planning and control including:
  • Managing program issues and escalating where necessary – includes reviewing escalated project issues to evaluate whether they will affect the program.
  • Resolving cross-functional issues at program level.
  • Liaising with other program managers particularly where projects have outputs affecting more than one strategic objective
  • Ensuring projects maintain focused on benefits.
  • Reviewing project requests for change to scope to evaluate any impact at program level.
  • Monitoring project progress and performance.
  • Liaison with, and updates progress to, program steering board/senior management.
  • Managing communications with stakeholders (in partnership with Benefits Manager)
  • Managing program evaluation and dissemination activities.
  • Working closely with the Benefits Manager to ensure the program embeds any new working practices.

In a lot of industries Program Managers are expected to:

  • Interact with project and other program managers to provide support and guidance on individual initiatives conducted to support the program
  • Interact with portfolio managers to ensure that programs are provided with the appropriate resources and priority
  • Collaborate with governance bodies, sponsors and, (where applicable) the program management office to ensure the program’s continued alignment with strategy
  • Integrate with operational managers and stakeholders to ensure that program receive appropriate operational support and that benefits delivered by the program can be sustained
  • Ensure that the importance of each of a program component is recognised and understood
  • Ensure that the overall program structure and the processes enable the program and its components teams to successfully complete the work and deliver anticipated benefits
  • Integrate the program components deliverables, outcomes and benefits into the programs end product, services or results so that the program can deliver on its intended benefits
  • Provide effective and appropriate leadership to the program teams

So does any of this seem reasonable as to the role of the program manager and can it be used within your organisation?

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