PROGRAM MANAGER: Meaning, What They Do, Salary & Difference.

Program Manager

A program manager’s job is to help a business in management, and keep track of and coordinate all of its projects, products, and other strategic activities. With the help of a good program manager in an organization, the organization will grow successfully. This article talks about the job description for a technical program manager. It also talks about the salary of a program manager vs a project manager.


The program manager is in charge of making plans, putting them into action, and keeping track of how things are going. The people in charge of a program do their jobs from a bird’s-eye view that lets them see how different projects fit into the bigger picture of their company and, more importantly, how they can be done at the same time.

Most program managers have a background in either project management or business administration. This helps them connect programs to their organization’s strategic goals.

Program managers need to have used project and portfolio management tools before and know how to use them well. ProjectManager is web-based project management software that lets program managers and their teams use Gantt charts, kanban boards, task lists, and other program management tools to plan, schedule, and track work in real-time.

Managers of large-scale programs need to be experts in a wide range of related fields, such as risk management, resource management, and project planning. Since this is a leadership role, it also involves communicating with different teams, project managers, and key stakeholders. Some of a program manager’s most important tasks and skills are listed below.

Tasks of the Program Manager

There are;

  • They are responsible for the day-to-day running of the program for as long as it exists.
  • Controls for a program are the processes, procedures, reporting, and other things that are set up to keep an eye on how the program is run.
  • They make a plan for the whole program and keep an eye on it to make sure everything is going as planned.
  • They are in charge of managing the money for the program.
  • They try to predict and deal with problems that might come up during the life of a program.
  • In this role, they make sure that all the parts of the program, including their own, work together and that dependencies are handled.
  • They are in charge of allocating and distributing program funds to the many different projects and initiatives.
  • Stakeholder management is the process of keeping track of the needs of people who care about how a program or project turns out.
  • They make sure that all of the projects and programs in the program have the same results.

Program Manager Skills

There are;

  • They should have a lot of experience running projects that are big and complicated.
  • They must know a lot about how to run projects and programs in many different ways.
  • They need to know what the bigger goals of the program are, like corporate and strategic ones.
  • They’ll be working with many different kinds of people, so they need to be good with people.
  • They need good leaders and managers who have experience in the field.
  • They need to have a good understanding of how to plan finances and divide up resources.

Job Description for Program Manager

Let’s figure out what the job description program manager does by defining “program.” In the context of an organization, a program is a group of related projects or a mix of projects and programs that work toward a larger business goal. Initiatives include the launch of a new product, a change in how sales are done, or the opening of a new store.

The job description program manager is to keep an eye on the whole program and give strategic direction to the project managers who work under them so that the program’s goals are met. Then, a project manager is in charge of making sure that each project in that program is done well.

The PMI says that a program manager is like a project manager on steroids. A program manager is like a meta-project manager in that they oversee the overall strategy for each project in the program at the same time. The Project Management Institute describes a program manager’s daily tasks as follows:

  • Management of programs every day for as long as they are running.
  • The rules for running a program need to be set.
  • Plan the overall strategy and keep track of how things are going.
  • Take care of the project’s money.
  • By taking the right steps, you can keep problems from happening.
  • Manage how the projects depend on each other and how they relate to each other.
  • Coordinate how the available resources are shared and used by different projects.
  • Control how information gets from one person to another.
  • Get the results of your program to match what you want it to do.
  • Take charge of important program documentation.

More Information

If you want to do well in this job, you must have experience running both programs and teams. Having a bachelor’s degree is not enough. Please see the list below for the qualifications needed to be a program manager:

  • A bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in business or a related field.
  • Solid track record of leading projects and programs on a large scale.
  • Proven ability to deal with stakeholders.
  • Proven ability to lead a group of people.
  • Ability to use computers well for a wide range of tasks.
  • Word, Excel, and Outlook are all part of Microsoft Office.
  • Able to manage projects well.

Program Manager, I Salary

As of February 27, 2023, the average salary for a program manager in the United States is $144,535, and the range is usually between $124,478 and $166,024. The salary of a program manager is based on many things, like the level of education, professional certifications, unique skills, and number of years in the field.

In the United States, the salary of a program manager can range from $24,000 to $250,000 per year, with $110,000 being the middle number. Most program managers (57%) make between $110,000 and $155,000 a year, and the top 86% make more than $250,000.

Technical Program Manager

A technical program manager, who usually works in upper or middle management, can help a company reach its product goals in a big way. Technical program managers are in charge of making sure that projects stay on track and stay within their budgets. This might mean making changes to the original plan, like reducing the number of people working on the project or giving more tasks to people who are already working on it.

They work with top management to regularly check on the progress of the program and give updates. Their job is to keep an eye out for technical problems and think of ways to fix them. They regularly look at a program’s test code and test ideas to make sure it works. A technical program manager needs at least a four-year degree in management, business administration, computer science, or a closely related field.

What Sort of Work Does a Technical Program Manager Typically Do?

Here are some things a technical program manager has to do:

  • Help bring product management and coders together.
  • Manage the project from planning to completion.
  • Work with the key people on the team to make sure there is openness and agreement.
  • Serve as a link between the customer and the engineer by giving both of them technical advice.
  • You can help the team grow by taking part in the hiring process.
  • Share deadlines, problems, risks, and dependencies with other groups and people who make decisions.
  • Help people come up with long-term goals and strategies.
  • Talk about your options, make suggestions, come up with a plan, and find areas of agreement so you can move forward.
  • Make it a habit to meet with your manager every week to talk about how things are going.
  • Analyze possible threats and come up with ways to deal with them to make sure the program’s goals are met quickly and well.
  • Coordinate the program’s scope with the architectural and engineering teams and upper management.
  • Make sure that upper management and business units know how the project is going and what the results are.
  • Focusing on what people want will get them on board and make them care about the success of the company as a whole.
  • Keep track of what needs to be done every three months.
  • Find creative answers to problems that could hurt the project’s results.
  • Help internal governing bodies, such as steering committees, investment review boards, and temporary or permanent task forces, do their jobs.
  • Start and run design and implementation collaboration between internal teams and external partners.

Program Manager vs Project Manager

To understand what a program manager does, you must first understand what a project is. In a nutshell, programs are long-term strategies and projects are short-term activities. Still, there are a few other important differences and similarities to think about.

Keeping in mind that the programs in place are made up of different projects makes it easy to see how the two are related. This means that the goals of each project make up the goals of the program as a whole. In contrast to projects, which have set start and end dates and deliverables, programs have open-ended goals and a network of parts that depend on each other.

Even though the two are so different, they have some things in common. Both projects and programs have the same size, complexity, relationships, and unknowns. In this case, it’s all about how hard something is. Problems are less likely to come up in smaller projects than in larger, more complicated ones with a lot of moving parts that depend on each other.

A program manager is in charge of the big picture and coordinating many projects, while a project manager is only in charge of one. The following below is the program manager vs project manager;

#1. Taking Care of Tasks

A program manager is in charge of more than one project at the same time, while a project manager is in charge of just one. That is, they focus on larger projects made up of many smaller tasks. Because of this, coordinating different projects is a big part of the job.

#2. Keeping Up With Regular Activities

Still, a project manager’s main job is to handle the day-to-day tasks of a project, like making sure tasks are scheduled and coordinated. Most of the time, this is done with the help of software that is made for managing projects.

#3. Seniority

A project manager usually has less experience than a program manager. Program managers are often more senior than project managers because they are in charge of bigger projects. However, this isn’t always the case.

#4. Responsibilities

Program managers often work with project managers, but they may not be in charge of those people. RACI charts are a good way to figure out who is responsible for what.

#5. What Goes on Inside

Both a project manager and a program manager are important to the success of an organization, but they do very different things.

What Do Program Managers Do to Help the Rest of the Company Be Successful?

When a project manager is solely responsible for the success of a single project, he or she may miss important strategic details that are clear to program managers. The responsibilities of a program manager go beyond their own team and into the rest of the company.

#1. They Are Useful for Developers

Program managers can see the whole organization when it comes to the big picture. They are in charge of keeping track of not just one strategic project’s needs and progress, but all of them. When this happens, they can keep the developers from being overworked or given deadlines that are impossible to meet.

#2. They Could Help a Whole Group of People From Different Fields Work Better Together and Get More Done

Program managers are an important link in the chain of information sharing between departments because they can see the big projects of the company as a whole.

Is Program Manager a High Position?

A program manager is an executive leader in a very high position. As a result, they are in charge of a wide range of administrative tasks, such as leading planning sessions. Those in charge of projects are given help along the way.

What Is a Program Manager vs Project Manager?

Program managers and project managers do similar things, and their jobs often overlap. Program managers are in charge of the big-picture strategy of a group of related projects (the program), while project managers are in charge of the success of each individual project.

What Are the 3 Concepts of a Program Manager?

Running programs designed to accomplish particular business goals can enhance an organization’s performance. Program managers are in charge of running and coordinating the organization’s most important projects and activities.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Program Manager?

A bachelor’s degree in business administration, economics, computer science, engineering, or even the humanities could provide you with the analytical abilities you need to do well in this sector, even though most program managers come from a technical or business background.

Do Program Managers Code?

If they’re good at managing people, they might move into technical program management. If not, they’ll probably stick with software development and maybe even move up to architecture.

But you are in charge of a group of people with different skills, so you should be able to communicate well with people from different fields. Just being able to talk about programming and knowing the basics of languages like Python, HTML, or C++ will open many doors. Because of this, your engineers will have more respect for you and do their best for you.

Who Works Under a Program Manager?

A project coordinator is a project manager who works under the manager in charge and reports to that manager. The project manager is in charge of keeping track of all the money that has been set aside for the project and all the money that has been spent on the project.


Program managers can add long-term value to a company’s long-term strategy and direction by using their unique perspective and knowledge to steer programs in the most strategically beneficial way possible. Any business that is working on more than one project at once needs the help of a program manager.

Program Manager FAQs

Who is higher than a program manager?

In most organizations, the director of project management is the highest-ranking member of the project management team. The program director is responsible for directing the company’s overall strategy and all of its projects.

What are some other names for a person who runs a program?

Manager of Program Management, Program Specialist, Technical Program Manager, Director of Program Management, and Program Coordinator are all related roles.

Is being a program manager a way to lead?

A program manager’s role is similar to that of a senior executive. One of their many leadership responsibilities will be to run the weekly planning meetings. To assist project managers.

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