A Project manager, when gains enough experience in managing different projects, can look forward to taking a project management course to become a Program Manager.
If you possess excellent leadership skills as well as communication skills and you love to solve different types of problems, then this article is for you. You can have a rewarding career in program management which is highly in-demand and can enable you to drive long-term value for your company’s direction, vision, and outcomes.
What is a Program Manager?
Program Managers, in the information technology sector, are project management professionals who can manage a group of related projects that are maintained by individual project managers.
As a Program Manager, you can fulfill larger organizational goals. You are required to coordinate the tasks between different projects without directly managing those projects. You have to give detailed attention to program strategy, manage the main program, and understand the proper ways of working together such that their efforts can be coordinated to achieve larger organizational goals.
Program Managers make organizations keep up with the budget, schedule, and keep above the graph of growth and profits.
Today, many organizations are looking for skilled and trained Program Managers because they have an overarching goal which is to be executed in the form of multiple small projects. It might be difficult to interconnect these projects and keep them organized. So, this is the point where a Program Manager comes into play.
What Does a Program Manager Do?
A Program Manager is intended to focus on the implementation of strategic tasks to align new programs with the business goals and strategies of an organization. The job role of a Program Manager is centered around high levels of delegation, coordination, and more.
Before moving towards the responsibilities of a Program Manager, let’s understand a Program. A Program is typically a group of related projects, or projects and programs. These related projects are meant to support an overarching initiative of a business that may include:
- Product launch
- Sales Process
- Marketing Plan
- Opening of Facility or Store
- Training of employee or customer
According to the Standard for Program Management, ‘a program is a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually.
A program manager is required to analyze your designated programs with a broad view of assigning day-to-day activities to project managers working under your program. Your primary responsibility is to make sure that your projects deliver great returns on investment (ROIs).
A program manager can be rendered a ‘meta-project manager’, simultaneously and strategically orchestrating all of the intertwined projects of a program. This job is best suited for you if you like multitasking.
Typical responsibilities of a Program Manager are:
- Managing project interdependencies and project coordination
- Planning execution of program and monitoring related activities
- Cross-project management of resources
- Documentation of program
- Creating and maintaining a budget
- Determining and addressing risks and problems
- Aligning and realigning deliverables with outcomes of programs
- Communications, negotiations, and solving problems of stakeholders and customers
As a program manager, you have to show your leadership qualities to achieve desired success in any program. A key principle of program management is ‘Create Your Success’.
The seven key principles of program success, as defined in The Standard for Program Management are:
- Demonstrate a clear and captivating vision
- Secure support that is sustained from the beginning
- Show strong management and leadership skills
- Facilitate extensive communication
- Build a strong organization
- Manage risks
- Implement effective systems and integration
Becoming a Program Manager
The steps to becoming a Program Manager are mentioned below:
- Upgrade your education
No matter how successfully you have managed projects, it is important to have a PMP certification in your portfolio. You can also consider having a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) or Masters in Project Management (MPM). for becoming a Program Manager, training programs in the same are highly beneficial.
- Deliver the goods
You are required to show great project results consistently to become a Program Manager. You should have highly successful projects under your belt. Also, you have to show that you are among the top delivering project managers who can manage multiple projects efficiently. So, you have to focus on consistently delivering successful projects.
- Ensure that you can delegate effectively
Program managers are supposed to think at a strategic level and delegate their results effectively. This can be exhibited by your juniors who will be good at delivering project value if only you are good at delegating.
- Mentor other Project Managers
After achieving success in handling projects only you can move forward to become a program manager. You can mentor other project managers for delivering projects with desired results. Some of the traits of a mentor that you can exercise are: offer to be a buddy, document your best practices, and share templates you have created while executing your previous projects.
- Exercise Leadership
A successful program manager is always a good leader. You can show your leadership skills by pioneering new practices and techniques in your projects and then you can propagate them across the organization.
- Act the Role
Before becoming a program manager, if you start acting like one, you are sure to become one. Start managing your projects with company strategy at focus and add features of program management to your projects.
If you are working with project coordinators or junior project managers, begin with structuring their work as mini-projects. Provide status reports regarding these subprojects and perform as if you are managing an individual project.
Make these traits noticeable by your management team and you get ready for a program manager role.
Work with Successful Program Managers. Get yourself Trained
There are many online training courses out there in the market. Enroll yourself in the best one and get to work with great enthusiastic Program Managers to learn the tactics of managing multiple projects successfully. These training courses allow you for self-paced learning and make you go through real-life industry projects to make you industry-ready. Enroll Now!!