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Five Steps to Becoming a Programme Manager

Have you been there, done that and got the T-shirt in project management? Time to move on to programme management? Then here are a few things to consider:

1. Qualifications: You can’t get away from them. They are a good way of learning and demonstrating to your employer that you have the fundamental knowledge and skills. They also show commitment to your self-development and to your career. The OGC’s Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) and the PMI’s Programme Management Professional (PgMP) are two recognised qualifications worth considering.

2. Experience: Several years of experience in dealing, not only with all the accepted nuts and bolts of project management, but also with tricky political situations and tricky people while still delivering a successful project would help to show your mettle.

3. Understanding the Role: Broad shoulders are useful as a programme manager for you are accountable for the success, and failure of course, of the programme. Responsibilities will include planning programme-level activities and schedule of projects, defining terms of reference as well as setting policies and procedures and standards.

4. Multi-tasking and multiple techniques: The programme manager has a wide range of responsibilities and needs to be able to oversee multiple projects to ensure that they stay on schedule and bring benefits in keeping with the company’s strategic goals and objectives. At the same time you must factor in problems you might have as well as ways to solve them. A good knowledge of techniques needed for planning, monitoring and controlling programmes, of business change tools, of benefits identification and management techniques and of budgeting and resource allocation are all essential in getting the right end result. Success comes too from knowing how to delegate and that comes from knowing your team.

5. Excellent people skills: A trite but true requirement, for as the programme manager you will be working with highly qualified and confident people. You can expect to have to influence and deal with stakeholders whilst leading and managing multiple teams and individuals across several business units. You will also have to understand and meet their differing perspectives and needs whilst keeping in sight strategic goals and objectives. Good leadership and management skills, the ability to forge good interpersonal relationships and maintain good communication links as well as a talent for team building are some of the traits of good programme managers. There are other useful qualities of course and some might say it helps to be able to accept criticism, have a glass-half-full mentality or just have a thick skin.

Useful Links:

- Jobs - – part of Financial Times Recruitment Solutions

- Training Bodies and Associations -

Office of Government Commerce (OGC)

APMG-UK Accredited [training and consulting] Organisations that deliver OGC qualifications

Association of Project Management (APM)

Project Management Institute