Project Management

Do Program Managers Have a Future?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Topics: Business Case, Estimating, Governance, Organizational Project Management, PMO, Program Management

I was recently talking to the head of a PMO who was overseeing the evolution of his employer’s project management capability to become more business focused. Historically, they had hired project managers who had significant experience in the technical areas their projects were involved in—but who had little business management knowledge or experience. As the organization recognized the importance project delivery played in achieving business results, it was looking to sacrifice some of that depth of knowledge among PMs in favor of greater breadth of knowledge—specifically in business skills areas.

The challenge this PMO leader was facing was that in rewriting the job description for project managers to reflect that, he found himself coming up with something very similar to what the company currently considered to be program management. The program managers in his company were currently expected to have a primary focus on achieving business results while allowing project managers to worry about the detailed project work that would ultimately deliver those benefits. The simple question he had for me was, “Does this mean that program managers are going to be unnecessary going forward?”

My answer was a very definite “no,” but I think it is a topic that is worth exploring—so that’s what I want to do in this article. In …

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Sometimes I think war is God's way of teaching us geography.

- Paul Rodriguez