Program Manager: Delivery Responsibility of the Program

This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series Tech Company Casestudy

After getting assigned as program manager by director, program manager quickly starts his work. His job is complex:

  • Nobody reports to him.
  • He needs to get the delivery done from members named by EMs.
  • He may not have the right technical background to fully understand what technical members.


  • Has good past experience of successes and failures, the behavior patterns of members & leads etc.
  • When members update his in status meetings, he can grasp the subject and issues at high level.
  • Is capable of abstracting it to a language understandable by senior management and other stakeholders.

Though nobody reports to him, his power lies in the monthly meeting with senior management. He can create havoc by escalating if Engineering managers do not cooperate.

First escalation happens on day 1: The program manager complains that there is no architect.

The engineering managers fight back saying that there are three highly competent technical leads who are architects. The program manager’s issue is about the overall technical accountability. All three individuals from respective groups will make their parts work and may care less about integration issues.

Engineering Director steps in and names the Tech Leader – Video Editor team as the overall architect. This tech leader has to play architect role for his part and also take responsibility for overall technical solution.

Engineering Director thanks the program manager. The program manager gets quickly into the project and release planning.

Role of Program Manager:

PMI (Project Management Institute) has taken lot of pain to give structure to the role of program manager. Program manager is primarily about being organization savvy, ability to understand the context and the ability to visualize the program’s execution. with this base, everything else will follow.

Program Manager reports into Project Management Office (PMO) Director. Till recently there was no separate PMO and he was reporting to Director of Video R&D.

Any thoughts on what is the single most aspect of program manager persona ?

Do you like to see how the program manager approaches project planning? .. and  agile release planning and introducing SCRUM?  

Series Navigation<< Engineering Manager: The Job of Line ManagementLead Architect: Clarity of Technical Roles (Or Lack of It) >>
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[…] in program management and project management. My perspective on program manager role is ‘here’. The job of working with government can take the experience to new […]