The Programme Manager role is open to many interpretations that will vary depending upon company, sector and discipline. Roles, responsibilities, experience and remuneration vary immensely, but don’t worry; the right person is out there somewhere, perfect for your organisation.

For the Cabinet Office, programme management is seen as “a vital component in the delivery of change; whether change to public or customer services, or change within organisations. In the government context, Programme Management is what the best policy makers have always done, though they may not have called it that; thinking through the end-to-end process to translate policy into delivery plans and into desired outcomes“.

The Association for Project Management (APM) sees programme management as the “co-ordinated management of related projects, which may also include business-as-usual activities“. Others see the programme manager’s role as ensuring that the strategic goals of the business are met. Through all these definitions there seems to be an agreement that the Programme Manager is managing more than a single thread of activity.

Arras’ experience shows that sectors have very differing uses for the job title Programme Manager and the complexity and seniority associated with the function. In construction, the delivery of programmes such as Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport had Programme Managers who represented the key players and who were charged with the delivery of the many threads to complete this complex task. In the professional services environment, we see programme managers who again take responsibility for large complex deliverables, guiding the project managers and managing the relationships with the client.

In the public sector, we have examples such as the NHS Connecting For Health Programme, where the term Programme Manager is again used both on the NHS and supplier sides. Then again, we see the term ‘programme manager’ used in Local Authority positions, where roles such as the Youth Offending Team are seen as a programme and hence have a programme manager.

So, what makes a Programme Manager?

Common skills may include:

  • Business Management
  • Benefits Realisation
  • Change Management
  • Risk Management
  • People Management
  • Stakeholder Management
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