If you are looking for a position as a program manager, it’s helpful to have a program manager job description to consult. Most program manager job descriptions will have the same basic duties listed and then will have specific variations based on the company that is doing the hiring. Having a general sense of Project Management Tools and Techniques will go a long way in helping you become a project manager!
Basically, a program manager is responsible for overseeing all day-to-day activities of a particular program and also for keeping a birds-eye view of the program operations. When a company decides to launch a new program, the program manager is the person who will see it through from launch to finish and will monitor and report on progress throughout the process. Here are a few of the general duties of program mangers:
One of the most important qualities of a program manager is the ability to develop a clear and detailed plan. In order to ensure that a program is feasible and doesn’t veer off course, the manager will need to have the skills to develop a step-by-step plan with well-defined tasks and to make sure the team stays on a timeline. Knowing your way around Excel is a great way to track numbers and projects.
2. Problem Solving
No matter how well-developed your plan is, problems with inevitably arise in any program. The program manager should have excellent problem-solving skills and be able to think quickly and adeptly about how to address problems as they come up and to learn from the issues so that the same problems do not arise again.
3. Interpersonal Skills
Program management requires advanced interpersonal skills. It’s likely that you will be dealing with clients, supervisors, staff and peers, and it’s important to be able to relate well to others, to dictate responsibilities, to offer constructive feedback, and to support and encourage others. You want your team to be working effectively and this means you will need to find ways to motivate them and earn their respect. Being comfortable with managing people will make your job much more effective.
Because the program manager has to keep track of so many different things at once, it is important to be able to multi-task. You may have to track spending, adjust budgets, hire and review employees, look for gaps in work efficiency, communicate with your team and suggest changes in the plan all in the same day! This requires an ability to switch quickly between tasks and to think about the project on many different levels at once. Why not brush up on your accounting skills before you start looking for jobs?
We hope this gives you a general sense of what it takes to be a program manager. Of course, the job will vary quite a bit depending on what time of company you are applying for and the nature of your background, but having these essential skills will help you to excel in a program manager position.