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What are the Different Program Manager Jobs?

Jeany Miller
Jeany Miller

Program management often relates to controlling company resources. Some programs are intended for short-term durations, while others serve as essential components of a business’s services. Long-term program manager jobs may be available in information technology, while short-term positions may be found in resource development. Engineering is another field in which program managers often develop products, while senior program managers may juggle multiple agendas. Employee wellness is likely to offer yet another opportunity in the field of program management.

Although it appears similar to project management, program management is a separate and distinct business facet. This concept often relates to organizing and directing company resources, both human and technical, to meet explicit goals. Programs often involve decisions that may determine the overall success and financial viability of a company. A program manager is thus often accountable for the schedule, budget and quality of a program. Relative projects may then be contained with the program hierarchy.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

A general program manager job description may require candidates to design and track program goals and milestones, identify resources and design relevant projects. A program manager often needs to supervise project managers, ensure procedures comply with company standards and delegate work responsibilities. Specifications that may pertain to this position include leadership capabilities, strong presentation skills and a proven record in customer service.

Some programs are designed to be short-term, while others are a crucial component of the company’s goods or services. Information technology (IT) may serve as an example of the latter, especially in organizations that provide security, storage or systems management solutions. IT program manager jobs may therefore develop and refine program structures to achieve repeatable delivery models. These positions may also aid in resource analysis and recommendations, communicate problems to identified stakeholders and coordinate interrelated programs and dependencies. In this sense, the IT manager is likely to work closely with project managers to ensure customer deliverables.

A short-term program may involve developing village resources for drinking water supplies. Objectives of such a program may be to provide safe drinking water to an entire community, motivate the community to take ownership of the water sources and deliver safe and adequate water to area citizens. The program manager is likely to identify and contract with contractors, train local mechanics to maintain the water pumps and form community-based committees to protect and monitor the water supply. Additional tasks may include conducting water analyses and training committee leaders to manage finances for future repairs and maintenance. Once completed, this program is likely to formally dissolve, although the manager may continue to be available to address questions and concerns.

Engineering program manager jobs may be found in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, environmental safety and technology. These positions often manage assigned personnel and work with customers to determine and refine product needs. Key functions may include supervising and coordinating personnel activities, maintaining work instructions for the engineering department and improving the quality of samples and prototypes delivered to customers. Engineering managers often work closely with quality control to improve product developments and grow the company’s portfolio.

In some cases, multiple programs are managed by one individual. Large corporations, for example, often maintain cross-functional agendas that collectively impact business goals. Often known as senior programs manager jobs, these positions are likely to develop and manage communication efforts across programs, oversee the work of external vendors and stay aware of market trends that impact program objectives. Senior managers may also develop tools and analytics to support the success of the program, research business conditions and identify areas of risk or opportunity.

Although not intended to generate revenue for a company, some program manager jobs may focus on employee health. Wellness programs, for example, may exist in many corporations to reduce employee illness and promote a safe working environment. The manager is likely to coordinate and promote participation in the program, develop health education and wellness materials and conduct health-related research projects. The program itself may consist of educational forums, classroom instruction or workout classes that occur on-site.

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