Have you ever heard the term Program Manger or Project manager and thought “well, whats the difference?”
They sound and look almost the same and if you look from afar their work is pretty similar as well. To understand the difference we must look at a program: a program is one giant project made up of a bunch of other smaller projects. So are you a Program Manager or a Project Manager? Read on to find out:
What is a Program Manager?
A program manager is “the head honcho”. A CEO, a boss, someone who is in-charge of the entire operation.
The are the captain of their ship; they create different tasks and projects that must be done to service the overall product and then hand over these different responsibilities down to the Project Managers.
What are the most important skills a Program Manager should have?
- Clear vision – A program manager knows exactly what they want
- Strong delegation skills – They are comfortable with letting go of the reins and giving responsibilities to others
- Ability to communicate what they want – They are able to tell their employees what they want and give them ways of accomplishing them
- People skills – They must be able to communicate with their employees in a way that is both professional but also inspiring
- Ability to compromise – Changes happen and to keep a company up an running a Program Manger must be able to roll with the punches, take criticism, and allow their employees to share their own ideas
- Integration – Being able to take all the little projects and bring them together in the big program
What are a Program Manager’s general duties?
- To know everything about the company at all times
- Come up with innovative and creative ideas for their company
- Inspire workers
- Delegate different tasks
- Watch over the company as a whole
What do Program Managers do day-to-day?
They go to work in their office and are updated on everything that is happening:
What was accomplished the day before
What is on the roster for the current day
And any other important things that have gone wrong or are going well.
A Program Manager must be able to give out any information as needed and put out any large fires, check emails, go into meetings, delegate different tasks with as little or as much direction is needed; if need be hold a morning meeting to inform and inspire workers.
Think Michael Scott from the office, but just a little more successful.
Tools for Program Managers
Program managers use a variety of tools in their work, but none is as important as their right-hand man, the program management platform.
Program management platforms allow for an insightful overview of what is going on across various initiatives in the company.
Tools like Priority Matrix allow program managers to oversee dozens initiatives at the touch of a button.
Priority Matrix not only provides a space to track the moving parts of various projects and initiatives, but also provides high-level reports so that program managers can quickly understand the status of their organization as a whole.
What is a Project Manager?
A project manager is in charge of the individual projects that make up a program. Project Managers are responsible to delegating assignments within their teams, keeping up with deadlines, and reporting back to the Program Manager.
What are the most important skills a Project Manager should have?
- Ability to stay focused while multitasking – A project manager is in charge of their own group of employees and have to juggle many different small projects
- Keep up with deadlines
- Good communication skills – Being in charge of a group of employees means that you must be able to communicate with them and build a professional trusting relationship
- Quick problem solving – Not every problem that arrises is a concern to bring to the Program Manger; here you must be able to figure things out for yourself before asking for higher up assistance
What are a Project Manager’s general duties?
- Communicate with the Program Manager (updates, questions, comments, concerns)
- Keep their team on track
- Look over budgets, calendars, and all other tactical things that allow the projects to work
What do Project Managers do day-to-day?
Project managers come into work every day and get updated on anything new or important happening in the project they are in control of. This involves checking emails and talking with other Project Managers. Project managers often conduct meetings with their teams and discuss what has been accomplished, what is almost done, and any new responsibilities.
Then, project managers look over different assignments that their team brings to them and then report back to Program Managers with the teams work.
Tools for Project Managers
Project managers employ a variety of tools to help them work more effectively. Some of these include budget planning tools, Gantt charts, Google docs, and of course, email. However, what helps Project managers work most effectively is having one tool that aggregates this information in and lets the project manager keep track of everything in one place.
One of the best tools for this is Priority Matrix. Priority Matrix integrates with Google Docs, and provides built-in Gantt charts, calendars, and a chat that reduces email traffic.
Check out a preview of one project in Priority Matrix, here:
This is the same project represented in a Priority Matrix Gantt Chart
So, are you a Program Manager of a Project Manager?