Program Manager Job Description (With Requirements)
Updated 5 July 2023
Companies need senior leaders who can oversee the completion of multiple projects in alignment with their overall goals and objectives. Program Managers within a company are responsible for guiding programs comprising multiple interconnected projects. Going through the job description of a Program Manager can help you with your resume and interview preparation. In this article, we define what a Program Manager job description is, list their responsibilities, provide a set of requirements that an employer may look for in an ideal candidate and share a sample job description.
Please note that none of the companies, institutes or organisations mentioned in the article are associated with Indeed.
What Is a Program Manager Job Description?
A Program Manager job description is a written document that clearly outlines the duties, qualifications, skills and work experience necessary for the role. It may also include additional information about the work environment, job location and salary range. The purpose of a job description is to establish clear expectations for the role. You can use the job description to aid in preparing your job application, including your resume and cover letter, and interview preparation.
Responsibilities Of A Program Manager
Here are some responsibilities of a Program Manager:
Define program plan and objectives
In a large company, a program is a set of interdependent projects managed together to achieve specific business objectives. As a Program Manager, you would be responsible for defining the program's scope and objectives. This can include setting clear goals and expectations for all the departments, each taking ownership of a project. Here is an example:
A large company has multiple teams, including research and development, IT, finance, sales and marketing. It plans to launch a new product line of phones, classified into low-range, mid-range and high-range. The company appoints a product manager to define the product vision, create a long-term strategy and oversee its launch. You assume the role of a Program Manager, responsible for overseeing the development of these phones as part of a program, which is the company's phone product line. You define the overall objective, which is the development and delivery of three categories of phones.
Create a program plan
Creating a program plan includes specifying milestones, preparing budgets, allocating resources and setting timelines. As part of this step, you would coordinate with the project managers to help them set up operations within each department. Continuing the previous example:
You establish a long-term objective of completing the development of the phones within three years and ₹100 crores. This program includes all activities from research and development, design and prototyping, production, manufacturing, marketing, advertising and distribution and sales. You coordinate with the project managers of each of these units to discuss timelines, budgets, resources and key objectives.
Monitor program performance
One of the key responsibilities of the role is to monitor the progress of the program periodically by coordinating with project managers. You can use Program Management tools to plan and monitor different projects with ease. This gives you a clear understanding of each department's progress and helps identify problems at the earlier stages of the program. From the previous example:
You conduct weekly meetings with the project managers of each department to review the team's progress. In one of the early meetings, you identify that the IT team is far behind the proposed timeline. Upon assessment, you identify the team is facing problems due to a lack of IT systems. You instruct the IT project manager to direct and oversee the migration of data, infrastructure and resources onto the cloud. You also authorise an additional budget for the activity and report it to the executive management.
Identify and manage risks
Risk management is critical to a company's operations. As a Program Manager, you would be responsible for identifying and managing risks and developing contingency plans to mitigate their impact. This would also include coordinating with the product manager and executive team to keep them updated on the effectiveness of the contingency plan. Continuing the previous example:
The company observes poor market reception during its beta launch. You set up a meeting with the project managers of each department to identify the cause. After a comprehensive survey, you learn that the poor reception is due to the phone's substandard performance. You devise a risk management plan by outlining the risk, classifying it as severe and assigning the IT team to make development changes and conduct extensive testing. You also monitor the issue and provide regular updates to the management. After the resolution, you ask the marketing team to conduct another survey to confirm the issue's resolution.
Program Manager Job Requirements
Here are some Program Manager's job requirements:
Most employers require candidates applying for this role to have an undergraduate degree in business administration, economics or a related field. They may also prefer candidates to have a diploma or degree in the domain for which they are applying. As an example, if the role requires expertise in IT infrastructure or systems, then the company may prefer a candidate to have a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. Many candidates may also pursue master's degrees, such as Masters of Business Administration (MBA), to enhance their skills in areas including strategic thinking, business management, leadership and decision-making.
Pursuing certifications in project management can help also individuals improve their project management, team management and risk management skills. Some standard certifications you can pursue include:
Project Management Professional (PMP): This certification course covers a range of areas, including project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling and project closure.
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM): This is an entry-level certification program, with topics similar to the PMP certification, designed for project practitioners who are new to project management.
Program Management Professional (PgMP): This is an advanced-level certification programme covering areas including strategy management, benefits management, governance and program lifecycle management.
Here are some key roles for the role of a Program Manager:
Decision-making: The ability to make informed decisions such that they have minimum impact on people, processes and operations is essential in this role.
Leadership skills: Having strong leadership skills help them manage large teams across different geographical locations and motivate them to work towards a common objective. It also helps them establish a culture of openness, creativity and innovation in the company.
Strategic thinking: Strategic thinking is an essential skill as it enables them to develop policies and procedures for the program in alignment with a company's long-term goal and vision.
Organisational skills: Program Managers oversee large-scale projects with multiple teams as part of their daily duties. Effective organisational skills can help in time management, task prioritisation and delegation and improved productivity.
Program Managers usually work in different settings, including corporate companies, government agencies, non-profit organisations and consulting firms. This role may also require frequent travelling to client or project locations to monitor program progress, meet project teams and ensure the smooth running of operations. Due to their higher level of responsibility, they may work overtime and during weekends, depending on project timelines and criticality.
Example Of A Program Manager's Job Description
Here is an example of a job description for the role of a Program Manager:
We are seeking a Program Manager at Samay.ai to help develop a robust IT infrastructure that aligns with our company's goals and objectives. As the Program Manager, your primary role would be to oversee the planning, execution and monitoring of a portfolio of projects to ensure their timely completion within budget. We prefer candidates who meet the following qualifications:
Proven experience in program management, with at least five years of experience as a Program Manager
Bachelor's degree in computer science is preferable but not mandatory
Strong organisational skills and attention to detail
Experience with project management methodologies such as Agile, Waterfall and Lean
Experience working with cross-functional teams and external vendors
You may apply for the position even if you do not meet all our requirements. We look forward to hearing from you.
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