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Program Management is a function that oversees a group of projects that are linked together through a common goal or common area of impact. Program management is a strategic function that oversees the execution of large-scale projects. It works by managing multiple projects, typically managed by a single person.

Program managers must maintain a clear strategy and schedule for their programs, monitor the progress of their projects, and ensure the quality of their deliverables. Although program management is typically viewed as a luxury, it provides essential value to larger organizations. While project managers focus on their deliverables, program managers often apply a strategic lens to every situation.

One of the most critical factors that program management has is having a consistent approach to managing multiple projects. It allows for consistent, uniform quality requirements across various projects.

Program management can also ensure that suitable funds are allocated for each project. Program management also adds significant value to an organization when implementing large strategic initiatives.

How Program Management Fits Into Organizations

A centralized program management office is often established to oversee various projects. This structure assigns program managers oversight and houses best practices and standard operating procedures.

Project managers can work with program management in various ways. Some may choose to be bound to a specific project or function, while others may prefer to collaborate with program managers through informal channels.

Regardless of the structure, program managers will continue to provide updates to their organization’s program management team. They will also provide a strategic view of the program’s progress.

Despite their similarities, product management and program management are different roles. Program managers are more focused on the development of the product, while product managers are responsible for the execution of the project.

What Makes Program Management Effective?

Program managers have various skills they can use to be successful. These include strong communication skills and a high level of visibility. Negotiating and delivering status updates in multiple formats requires a program manager to have communication skills.

Program managers should be able to set clear goals and deadlines for their projects. They should be willing to ask tough questions to see how the projects perform. When dealing with complex problems, program managers should be able to identify and resolve issues without resorting to asking for help.

The most challenging part of program management is demonstrating authority over the projects related to their organization. Most of the time, people do not have this capability. Program management focuses on strategic thinking instead of tactical response. This ensures the right people are working on the right projects and keeping the company’s long-term goals in mind. It allows the entire organization to reap the benefits of these initiatives.