In most businesses, it is clear what are the job duties of a program manager. He is responsible for a work unit of a department, working directly under a more senior manager. This means being tasked with achieving certain work objectives within the larger department. Although he has limited autonomy, he does have to fit into his manager’s plan. There are staff reporting directly to him who must be supervised.
People often believe that a program manager and project manager are one in the same role. However, there are key differences between a program manager and project manager. A program manager’s duties are the same as those of any manager: plan, organize, supervise, and evaluate.
The program manager participates in departmental planning. This is where he has an opportunity to test his ideas for the work goals and the way in which they are achieved. He then takes that piece of the work for which he is responsible back to his staff team and works with them to identify their tasks.
The program manager organizes the work in a way that maximizes his resources and increases the chances of achieving a successful operation. It is important for him to understand how all the tasks are done and that he has the resources in place. This has to be communicated clearly to staff so there are no misunderstandings about expectations.
An effective program manager has good leadership skills and knows how to balance the tasks to be done with the needs of the workers. He monitors both the staff and the work, offering supportive supervision at all times. He also has to monitor the progress of the job at hand, making sure it is proceeding according to the plan and complying with all the companyâ€™s policies and budget guidelines.
The program manager is held accountable for work done by his team. There are usually benchmarks built into operational work plans so the program manager knows exactly when to review the work and what constitutes success. He will probably want to consult with his manager about any problems and go back to the plan to see if it needs adjustment.