Program Manager

Program Managers focus not on individual, project-related outputs, but rather on realizing the benefits of a broader group of projects or initiatives that are integrated across an entire organization. Programs can be highly complex and cost an organization millions of dollars, making them hard-to-manage, high-risk initiatives. Beyond having expertise in project management, Program Managers are business leaders and vital agents of change.

ROLE-AT-A-GLANCE
Binoculars
Demand Outlook
*

Program Management expertise is in high demand as projects grow in quantity and complexity; however, as organizations seek to do more with less, virtual program teams drawing from resources across geo

Diploma
Education & Credentials
*

Undergraduate degree typically required.

Data chart
Quantitative Skills Required
*
Group of people
Interpersonal Skills & Relationship Management
*
Multiple devices Specialized Technology Skills
*
Desktop area Work Environment

Office; often frequent tele- or video conferencing

ROLE-AT-A-GLANCE
Binoculars
Demand Outlook
*

Program Management expertise is in high demand as projects grow in quantity and complexity; however, as organizations seek to do more with less, virtual program teams drawing from resources across geo

Diploma
Education & Credentials
*

Undergraduate degree typically required.

Data chart
Quantitative Skills Required
*
Group of people
Interpersonal Skills & Relationship Management
*
Multiple devices Specialized Technology Skills *
Desktop area Work Environment

Office; often frequent tele- or video conferencing


WHAT IT IS

Key Role Dimensions

Acting as a catalyst for change: Lead people and projects to achieve a business objective, coordinating program tasks at all stages.

Structuring large programs of sub-projects: Determine how the parts of a program will interact with each other and establish appropriate supports, and create checks and balances to increase the likelihood of successful completion.

Acting as main stakeholder interface: Coordinate a multitude of people and tasks across individual projects, liaising between leaders in the organization, Project Managers and third-party vendors or consultants.

Focus Areas

Program Managers work with business line leaders to:

  • Set and review the business objectives for the program
  • Coordinate activities across projects
  • Oversee the integration of interdependent work products and results
  • Ensure that risks impacting the program are identified and managed
  • Ensure that best practices are used throughout these processes

WHAT IT TAKES TO SUCCEED

Key Job Accountabilities

Program Managers generally engage in:

Program Management:

  • Lead stakeholders to develop the program implementation plan.
  • Determine staffing and financial requirements and form project teams.
  • Develop progress metrics to be tracked for the duration of the program.
  • Analyze project risks, costs and benefits, and make relevant recommendations.
  • Achieve buy-in among impacted stakeholders, ensuring across-the-board understanding of the context and goals of the program, and helping them through the change.
  • Oversee execution of plan components on time and within budget, making internal trade-offs where required.

Program Governance:

  • Manage the project and business issues, risk resolution and change request processes and work with other leaders to make directional decisions and take corrective action as necessary.
  • Ensure compliance with audit and information security policies as well as industry-related regulatory requirements.

Program Leadership:

  • Actively champion the program with stakeholders by regularly communicating milestones.
  • Motivate and provide constructive feedback to the program team.

Knowledge, Skills & Experience

Must-haves:

  • Expert-level knowledge of project and change management methodologies and tools (e.g. Project Management Institute Program Management Standards)
  • Extensive experience in project management in the financial services industry
  • Proactive and goal-orientated by nature
  • Budget, cost and profitability management skills
  • Team Leadership & Development Skills: Elicit cooperation and influence from a wide variety of stakeholders, including senior management, clients and other departments
  • Facilitation, Negotiation & Problem Resolution Skills: Successfully navigate different team dynamics, personalities and communication styles
  • Knowledge of process and performance monitoring standards (e.g. Capability and Maturity Model, Six Sigma process management methodologies)

 Nice-to-haves:

  • Previous experience with vendor management
  • Offshore resource management might be needed in some organizations

Education & Credentials

More senior positions typically require:

  • Undergraduate university degree
  • Graduate degree

 In the fields of:

  • Business/Business Administration (MBA)
  • Systems Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering

 Employers in different segments may require candidates to possess one or more of these designations:


WHERE IT CAN TAKE YOU

Career Pathways

There are a number of pathways open to Program Managers through:

  • Increased Seniority: You may move up to the role of Senior Program Manager or Project Management Office (PMO) Director or into a senior business role in strategy or operations.

  • ‘Guru’ or Expert Status: You may transition to independent consulting if you have accumulated significant program experience in a specific area, such as IT integration.

Future Trends & Impacts

There is a trend towards maximizing efficiency and consistency across organizations, leading many companies to invest in larger-scale business transformation programs designed to implement common systems across the enterprise. This is giving rise to an increased number of larger, more complex programs requiring the leadership of Program Managers.



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