Photo by Will Shaddock Photography 5 Oct 2015 View image
Choosing a Programme Manager is all about finding someone with the right experience who is capable of leading and managing all the elements – just having the the right technical IT skills simply won't be enough.
A Programme Manager should be a Master Manipulator
In my view there are people who are qualified to do these roles and those who can naturally do these roles and in the case of a Programme Manager you need someone who is experienced enough to do this role.
If you look around for a Programme Manager the chances are they will have come out of the IT world. Programme Managers with a breadth of business experience are hard to find and you need to look beyond the job title for this role. Don’t think Programme Manager, think what is the final outcome I am looking for and do they have the experience to guide us there?
Then think about the people this person will be working with – your Project Managers, what are they like? Is there going to be harmony, sparks or fireworks? People don’t have to like each other to work together (believe me, I know that) but there does have to be an element of matching even if it is just professional respect.
If you can’t find the person that ticks all the boxes, go for experience above everything else.
The Programme Manager is not looking to deliver the project but ensure that the related projects deliver the outcome. This is less storm trooper more master manipulator (in the most positive sense). A person who doesn’t need the glory is already confident, self-assured and knows how to navigate a path to success regardless of what is thrown at them and is one of the most organised and methodical people you know.
And you must trust their judgement; otherwise you will end up doing their job.
If you can’t find the person that ticks all the boxes, go for experience above everything else. This person needs to see what is happening today and predict what will happen tomorrow. When there are several related projects they have to do in multi-functional environments, across a landscape where they are not in control of all the decisions being taken or the people involved it is crucial to have the right person. It’s not a job for a novice or the faint hearted.