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Video 1: Introduction to the definition of Program Manager

Roles and responsibilities of program manager are very complex. For that reason, it is difficult to define them. They can vary from managing multiple projects to managing multiple projects with operational responsibilities, additionally to being accountable for profit or cost targets based on business strategy. Moreover, a program manager has the main supervision of the scope and status of several related projects at once which all together contain the program in order to ensure that the program goals are achieved. This accumulation of responsibilities of a diversity of projects and operations means that the program manager should be able to balance business targets and project/operational performance. His decisions are both tactical and strategic in nature. The program manager must establish an environment that allows the project managers to complete their projects successfully. In more detail, the main leadership duty is to bring more clarity to the team. Occasionally, the project management office (PMO) may not have sufficient insight of the risk, issues, requirements, design or solution and the clarity that is given from them. In that case, the program manager may be well placed to accept calculated risk and then define clarity in his own terms or to provide this insight by actively seeking out such data from the project managers although in large and/or complex projects, a specific role may be required. However, this insight arises, the program manager needs this in order to be confident that the overall program goals are achievable. [1]


Big Idea

Origin of Program Manager

A program manager is first and foremost a leader, who delivers a business strategy that requires multiple coordinated projects.

Roles and responsibilities

Some of these functions are the coaching and developing the employees either the existing or new ones, decision-making, resolution of performance problems, evaluation of performances,

  1. Planning/scheduling – Project management tools allow you to plan and delegate work all in one place with tasks, sub-tasks, folders, templates, workflows, and calendars.
  2. Collaboration – Email is no longer the only form of communication. Use project management tools to assign tasks, add comments, organize dashboards, and for proofing & approvals.
  3. Documentation – Avoid missing files with file management features: editing, versioning, & storage of all files.
  4. Evaluation – Track and assess productivity and growth through resource management & reporting
  5. Governance: the health and progress of the program
  6. Alignment: vision, goals and objects of the program
  7. Assurance: verify and validate the program
  8. Management: review and report on the project
  9. Integration: optimizing performance across the program
  10. Finances: tracking costs of the program
  11. Infrastructure: allocating resources of the program
  12. Planning: a road-map for the program
  13. Improvement: assessing performance of the program



In order a program manager to accomplish all his\her roles and responsibilities should have some skills\behaviors. A lot of surveys have be carried out about the behaviors of a successful Program Manager and they resulted that the following four policies are the most important. First of all a Program manager has to

  1. see the organization strategically
    • strategic thinking to plan and anticipate future implications, thinking broadly and understanding the long term impacts of decisions. Moreover, is *:*The organizational awareness – identifying interpersonal and group dynamics; being in tune with and adapting to the organizational culture
    • Leading change – instigating innovation and constructive change; helping others work through change

Another significant behavior is to

  1. understanding how to navigate the organization toward the future:
    • Judgment – analyzing situations effectively and making sound decisions confidently
    • Goal driven – setting and achieving short and long term objectives
    • Driving results from two perspectives – delivering results personally by meeting commitments and achieving goals - achieving business objectives through others by holding people accountable
  1. Working well with others:
    • Communicative – expressing ideas clearly and listening attentively to others
    • Building trust – inspiring trust and credibility with others, maintaining confidences and keeping commitments
    • Integrity – being forthright, honest and demonstrating ethical standards
  1. Leadership
  2. Communication
  3. Collaboration
  4. Critical Thinking
  5. Finance
  6. Project Management


Program Manager

  1. Dashboard
  2. Gantt Chart
  3. Task Management
  4. Reporting
  5. Timesheets
  6. Planning

Comparison with project manager

Figure 5: Comparison of behaviors between project and program manager. (click to zoom)

The main difference between a program manager and a project manager can be described by two: creation and compliance. The former one is responsible for creating the business environment culture and the project manager should comply with. Furthermore, the project manager's responsibilities are based on the triptych of time, cost, and scope of the project. On the other hand, the program manager is judged not only on these three subjects but also on a level that is cumulative for all the projects and operations within the program. This summation of responsibilities for a variety of projects and operations means that the program manager should carry out frequent trade-offs between business targets and project/operational performances. Moreover, program management decisions have basically strategic character. The strategy aspects must take into account multidimensional impacts beyond the short-term deliveries of the projects. In contrast with the project manager, who should complete and deliver projects within the time schedule and based on the instructions set by the program manager. To sum up, the project manager should focus on deliveries and execution of the projects whereas the program manager is also responsible for the overall organization and efficacy of the program over the long-term.


Big construction companies often undertake complicated projects, such the construction of metro.




Annotated Bibliography

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