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Program management may include a wide range responsibilities depending on the type of program and the program environment. The main focus of a program manager should be staffing, scheduling, events, and resources. Successful program managers handle these four areas well.
A program manager's No. 1 role is to be an efficient staff manager. A manager is only as good as his staff and the success his program implementation provides. Managing staff involves delegating tasks, payroll, inter-staff communication, documenting incidents and absences, and evaluations.
Recognizing a staff member's strengths is key to good delegation. Assign tasks that are reasonable and within the capability of the staff member, and always set a deadline. If the task requires a period of time to complete, such as planning an event, assign dates for progress check-ins.
Payroll is an important task that is overseen by a manager or human resources. Staff members expect a manager to ensure that time sheets are accurately received, recorded and submitted on time.
Inter-staff communication is also a key responsibility of a manager. To coordinate a program, a staff must be updated on any changes, upcoming meetings and events, new personnel, program curriculum expectations, or any other information pertinent to running a successful program. Phone calls and face-to-face meetings are the traditional ways to relay messages, but, increasingly, email is considered a legitimate means of official communication.
Documenting incidents and evaluations go hand in hand. For an evaluation, it is important that a manager provide examples of a staff member's strengths and weaknesses. Every absence should be documented, as well as any altercations or missed assignments, to be discussed in a face-to- face meeting. Performance commendations should also be highlighted, because an effective manager builds staff morale and enjoyment of the work place.
Program scheduling varies depending on the type of program being implemented. Regardless, it is a primary role of the program manager to ensure that a smooth agenda is in place every day. Creating such an agenda includes scheduling staff to fill all necessary blocks of time, scheduling programs and topics appropriately throughout a block of time, ensuring proper curriculum is utilized, and ensuring that a calendar of regular events and special occasions is posted and communicated far in advance.
Event Planning and Management
Event planning is a task that can fall on a program manager's shoulders or be delegated to another staff member. In event planning, it is recommended that an excel spreadsheet be kept of people needed for staffing and attendance, a program plan or agenda, supplies available and supplies needed, space needs, and important contact information. Communication is imperative leading up to an event to ensure that necessary components are in place and set up for the right date and time. Advertising and marketing are also crucial to a successful program event. Events can typically be advertised through telephone calls, mailers or invitations, fliers, radio announcements, and local publication announcements.
The final aspect of program management is overseeing and managing necessary resources. Materials and supplies should be cataloged, organized, and documented for easy access and to prevent loss. Serial numbers of larger items should be recorded and stored in a safe file. Preventing loss and being able to easily find program supplies can save money over time and help a program run smoothly.
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