A technology program manager provides leadership and expertise to deliver IT programs and initiatives on schedule and within budget. He plans and administers both projects and the overall program, and ensures that deliverables are completed correctly and on-time. The technology program manager delivers the technical solution to support an organization’s vision and strategic direction. He is a leader in the IT organization, and is held accountable for the success of enterprise-impacting technology initiatives.
The technology program manager oversees the delivery of large, complex technology programs. Typically, these large-scale efforts comprise parallel projects and cover software development, IT infrastructure systems installation, business process engineering and an organization’s functional capabilities. During the program life cycle, the technology program manager is responsible for the program management office (PMO), as well as planning, management, financial management and governance.
Program Management Office (PMO)
The PMO is comprised of multiple organizational resources and functions, and it is created to support the technology program manager in the delivery of the IT solution. The technology program manager is the leader of the PMO and staffs the organization with the resources required to complete the program. An IT PMO will generally include technology project managers, system engineers, software developers, IT auditors and administrative staff. The technology program manager heavily relies on these resources to complete the program.
The technology program manager also defines the program governance structure, which provides program leadership, oversight and control. The executive sponsor, steering committee and technology program manager are represented within the program governance structure. The program manager is the liaison between the governance representatives and the PMO and communicates key information across both parties.
As part of program planning, the technology program manager identifies the program's individual component projects and estimates the resources required to deliver the program. After these elements are defined, the technology program manager identifies the connections and dependencies among the individual projects. This data is collected in a master program plan, which the technology program manager is responsible for producing. The program plan defines the planned outcomes for each component project, the resources required and the work schedule—items that the technology program manager will continuously monitor throughout the program life cycle. A program’s success is largely dependent on the program manager’s ability to create and manage a comprehensive IT program plan.
The management phase of the program life cycle involves managing, monitoring and controlling work efforts, while ensuring that the output of each component project satisfies its specified requirements. The technology program manager continuously interacts with stakeholders to set expectations, review objectives and coordinate resources across the individual component projects. These activities are especially important during the procurement and installation of new IT environments and tools. Additional key duties performed by the technology program manager include communicating relevant information, monitoring systems integration activities, negotiating deviations in plans and adjusting resources as needed.
The financial management responsibilities of the technology program manager include managing the program budget to conform to policy, and developing processes for requesting, spending and reporting capital expenditures. The technology program manager oversees the creation of project budgets for the individual project components, and prepares cost estimates for the program based on this information. During the life cycle of a program, the technology program manager is accountable for its financial performance.
Qualifications & Compensation
In general, individuals seeking a technology program manager position have five to 10 years of project management experience, and two to three years of experience in IT business process engineering. Employers generally require candidates to have completed a bachelor's degree program; graduate-level degrees are preferred. Project management professional certification is a highly desirable credential.
Individuals interested in pursuing a career in IT project management should possess advanced IT knowledge and exceptional leadership and business management skills. Knowledge and experience with software development, systems engineering, business process engineering, customer relationship management, project management, technology procurement, contracting, financial management, change management, risk management and IT service management are often considered necessary.
The median salary for a typical technology program manager in the U.S. is $130,443, as of 2010. According to Salary.com, factors such as employer size, industry, credentials and years of experience can dramatically affect a technology program manager’s compensation. In general, the salary range for a typical technology program manager in the U.S. is $118,179 to $144,308.