Management opportunities come with a myriad of responsibilities. Program managers are concerned with managing several projects (program). Looking over multiple projects wherein a single mistake can affect all the projects can be overwhelming. The following sections provide insights into the crucial topics relevant to program management and how it differs from other management types. 

What Is a Program in Project Management?

A program is a collection of projects contributing to achieving the company's goal. It refers to managing all the projects. It must align with goals, optimize resources, and manage dependency.

What Is Program Management?

Program management refers to managing all processes associated collectively with individual projects, such as looking into the staff, and work-related actions, aligning multiple projects with the company's objectives and reporting on status updates and progress. It also oversees the resource management plan and plans for involved projects regarding strategies and change management. 

Program Management vs Project Management

Project management is managing the team's work through planning, management, and execution and increasing collaboration among the involved members. Program management focuses on strategic business goals to be achieved by the separately involved projects, which may be longer-term and independent or dependent. 

Program Management vs Project Portfolio Management

There lies a minute difference between the program and project portfolio management. In the former, the projects are interconnected, while the latter can have projects which may or may not be connected. 

Program Management vs Product Management

Product management is concerned with product development and launch responsibilities, while program management is broad. It can incorporate project and product management, with multiple of them being covered by the program management. 

Become a Product Leader in 6 Months

UMass PGP Project ManagementExplore Course
Become a Product Leader in 6 Months

Program Management vs Work Management

Program management is a part of work management. Being a broad category, the latter concerns organizational workflows irrespective of project, routine work, product, and others. It is associated with coordination among individuals, work, and teams at different levels, while program management involves managing multiple projects in a particular program. 

What is a Program Manager?

Certified as a Program Manager, the individual is responsible for managing various projects in a program. 

What Does a Program Manager Do?

The program manager strategically and efficiently manages the program's progress toward the company's goal. He has to be involved in cohesive decision-making, risk management, and resource management plan, connect with the people who can solve the problems, and have executive buy-in. Other roles of program manager are explained in detail:

Evaluate the State of the Portfolio

These functions concern risk assessment and finding room for improvement by connecting with team members. Any issues in progress are to be acknowledged and solved. 

Manage Risks

Once the risks are defined, their mitigation is important to have minimal damage to the program. It also involves understanding the risk and forming an efficient strategy to combat it. Types of risks can be timeline issues, difficulty in making additions to projects or programs due to occupied resources, and others. 

Run the Program

Running the program means controlling the budget and resources in collaboration with project managers, focusing on core elements, and stating the operating parameters. 

Engage with Stakeholders 

The program manager should interact with stakeholders for an overall idea of the project and expectations for better team guidance. 

Refine the Operating Model

It can always be flawed; hence, optimizing the process and methodology for improvements, goals, and delivering the project can be made more efficient by making minute or greater changes. 

Support Decisions 

The decisions should be made solely or in association with other project managers depending upon the department and area of expertise. It can involve gathering information and performing detailed analyses and suggestions from other decision-makers. 

Program Manager Responsibilities

The key responsibilities involve program planning, cost control, and program and change management, as explained below -

Program Planning

Planning the beginning and progress of the plan saves time, avoids confusion in deciding the actions, and is cost-efficient. It also involves dividing the overall work into small manageable tasks that can timely achieve the goal.

Cost Control

As multiple projects are involved, the expenditure must be managed beforehand. The project worthiness based on cost, quantity, and type of expenditure, along with future predictions of cost imposed, needs to be controlled by the program manager.  

Master's Program: Digital Project Manager

Learn Core Digital Project Management SkillsEnroll Now
Master's Program: Digital Project Manager

Program Management

It is to be performed to understand the progress, teams lagging or working in advance, correct usage of energy, and sufficient results being generated. Several tools like Gantt charts, dashboards with overall summaries of the projects, and complete programs can be utilized. 

Change Management

Last-minute changes take time to fit in busy and occupied resources. Thus, it is highly significant to monitor the worthiness of changes and get them approved before incorporating them by the program manager and stakeholders. It requires the development of management processes and the mindful placing and allocation of resources. 

4 Benefits of Program Management

Being technical and strategic, the process yields fruitful results with the following benefits:

1. Connect Projects With Strategic Business Goals

Projects have to be selected that have connectivity with the organization's goals. The objectives of both the project and program can be aligned and combined to progress towards the company's goal, thus providing a direction to the endeavor.

2. View Project Interdependencies

A program is a collection of projects which may or may not be interrelated. If they are interrelated, the program manager can understand and utilize this to remove redundancy in resources' works. 

3. Simplify Resource Allocation

The program manager has a broad look at different projects; this can systematically align and allocate the resources. It helps in saving financial resources and utilization of limited resources. 

4. Align on Risks and Opportunities

The overall idea of projects through the program can assist in the timely identification of risks and opportunities. The strategies can be designed to mitigate the risk and obtain and utilize the opportunities. 

Managing Programs With Project Management Software

Project management software can help to derive efficient performance by the manager. They can utilize mentioned functions with their significance specified as follows: 

1. Create Your Program

Create a program by defining the program containing individual projects. The summary and objectives can help in understanding the program's goal. 

2. Set High-Level View

The programs can be multiple too. Relevant information is enough to decide the status, resource allocation, and objectives. Briefing about the expertise of project managers and their teams will help in rapid insight, eventually saving time. 

3. Group and Filter Projects

The programs have different goals and objectives. Program managers can filter them based on different criteria as per the requirement and information needed. 

4. Set Up Notifications

Change, discussion, and meeting schedule notifications are great reminder tools, pointing attention toward important things. 

5. Balance Resources

The separate section stating each type of resource allocation is a great method to understand the over and underutilization of resources. Subsequently, they can be allocated accordingly. 

6. Keep Track of the Program

The status chart will efficiently track individual projects and programs. 

7. Report to Stakeholders

The summary reports generation function can share the reports with stakeholders. Along with transparency, doubts and suggestions can be easily shared by Program Managers rather than creating a document. 

Making a career in project management has never been this easy! Enroll in our Post Graduate Program in Project Management to get started today!

Conclusion

Program managers hold great responsibility for overseeing the programs with multiple projects. Perfect functioning and resource allocation are to be seen along with aligning the goals and objectives of each project, program, and company. Learn the latest project management skills and tools with our PGP in Project Management is collaboration with UMass Amhrest. 

About the Author

SimplilearnSimplilearn

Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

View More
  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
  • *According to Simplilearn survey conducted and subject to terms & conditions with Ernst & Young LLP (EY) as Process Advisors