What is a program manager?
Briefly as mentioned before, project manager is the person who is responsible and managing a project. He is in charge of the whole process, and responsible for the outputs.
- A project manager manages a team of people in order to get a project completed. Project managers work in every industry and are held accountable for the outcome of projects. The main duties of a project manager are planning, organizing, managing, controlling and following through on all parts of a project.
Usually a project manager has an office like any other manager of any department (like financial management office, development management office...), therefore the project manager will have his/her own project management office.
- What is a program manager?
Program manager and project manager could be the same despite the difference in some responsibilities and the place of performance.
A program manager is the person who is handling the process of a certain program or training in order to deliver (process) it properly. A program manager is managing a program in certain organization, and the programs might vary depending on the business of that organization.
Mainly the standards and qualifications of “manager” are required in both, since both have the title of manager and their main duties are controlling and planning.
First let me explain about program coordinator in order to get the definition of program manager.
For more explanation, a program coordinator is someone who is responsible for the daily operations and decision making that supports a specific program or initiative. This role is found in the health care and education fields and in some business organizations. The term "program" can be used to describe any project with a specific time frame, delivery method and outcome. For example, a health care program to reduce diabetes will have a specific time frame, well-defined steps and tasks, a target audience and a desired outcome. A marketing program includes the same items listed above but is focused on increasing sales of a product, not reducing diabetes.
The skills required to become a program coordinator are fairly consistent, regardless of the field. These skills include working with multiple, conflicting priorities, creating a project plan, communications and interacting with people at all levels of the organization.
The primary responsibility of a program coordinator is to ensure that the program is delivered properly. The actual details of the program material are the responsibility of the trainer, manager or another staff member who has expertise in this area. In most cases, the actual program is delivered by a subject matter expert or front-line team member. For example, a customer service program is delivered by the customer service representatives, but making sure they are all trained and following the program is the responsibility of the program coordinator.
There is a significant amount of administrative work in this position. Intermediate-to-advanced computer skills are a necessity for anyone working as a program coordinator. Excellent written and oral communication skills will streamline the process and result in a higher quality program.
The organizational structure varies across different industries, but this usually is considered a senior administrative role. Most program coordinators do not have management responsibilities but work closely with a team of people all dedicated to the delivery and support of the program. For this reason, interpersonal skills are extremely important.
Career advancement opportunities for a program coordinator include project management or the roles of supervisor or program manager. A minimum of four years of experience as a program coordinator typically is required to qualify for these roles. Many people who want to advance their careers take part-time courses to expand their skill set. Possible areas of interest include written communication, conflict resolution, advanced computer skills and management.
Being said so; we can conclude that a program manager is an advanced position for a program coordinator.
In addition we can tell that a program manager is the person who is managing a department which is responsible for a certain program and this department (team or employees) is working on it.
For example we can have a manager for the program of educational development at certain school, or the manager of the quality program in certain factory, or the manager of customer’s service program.
Also we can see the manager of the technical development project in certain company, or the manager of the project of building a hospital in certain region.
Program or project might be the same; it depends on the organization and its business.
Project or program might be educational, training, and physical (production, construction…etc). However the responsibilities of the manager are the same.
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