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Program Managers are responsible for ensuring the integrity and smooth running of a program. They work in leadership positions where they define the different stages of the program, ensuring that it is in line with the overall vision of a company or organization. In addition to an academic degree and several years of experience, most program managers have a strong background in project management. Depending on the stage at which they were hired, program managers may also be involved in the conceptual planning and design of a program. They’re charged with proactively monitoring its execution, stepping in to resolve any issues or difficulties that may arise. Program Managers typically have a say in the hiring of project teams. They ensure that the products or services being offered meet the quality level of the company or organization.
Program Managers are expected to have good negotiation, leadership and scheduling skills. They are able to control risk while ensuring that project costs stay within the agreed budget. Program Managers are also expected to think critically and have good communication and task management skills. They provide regular reports to the director, board members or stakeholders. They also initiate extra activities that may help boost efficiency or plug gaps that are harming the program. While program managers perform similar tasks to a project manager, the role differs in that program management often involves ongoing longer-term projects. Job opportunities for program managers exist in almost every industry, including the public sector, engineering and research.