Development Cooperation Handbook/Designing and Managing Programmes/Programme management/Clarifying the relationship: Responsibilities of Project Managers and programme Managers

Clarifying the relationship: Responsibilities of Project Managers and programme Managers

Projects are conceived within a wider programme, i.e. a broad framework of goals to be achieved, serving as a basis to define and plan specific projects. Programme management provides a layer above Project Management, providing a framework where projects can be run successfully but leaving project management to the project management teams.

Programmes are implemented through projects. In a sense the "projects" can be considered as the "activities" of a programme (that is why sometimes projects are also called "actions"). The difference is that while the activities of a project are defined when the project is planned, projects (i.e. program actions) are developed later, once the programme was broadly defined. Program management provides a layer above project management establishing a framework where projects can be run successfully, but leaving project management to the project management teams. (See also: the 3 level hierarchy of project/programme objectives;).

It is the responsibility of the project manager to:

  • Ensure the project team is well-organised, adequately staffed, and working well together, i.e. that team members understand and accept their responsibilities.
  • Keeps team resources focused on developing and executing the plan.
  • Is responsible for the control over the project and makes timely adjustments to the plan.
  • Report meaningful metrics for cost, schedule, quality, and risk;
  • Conduct regular status and design reviews;
  • Ensure the adequacy of project documentation and testing;
  • Maintain meaningful communications among project stakeholders;
  • Manage the project to attain the project goals and achieve stakeholder satisfaction.
  • Arbitrates and resolves conflicts in the team.

The person in the organisation responsible for the project, above the project manager, is the programme manager .

It is the responsibility of the project sponsor (generally in the role of programme manager) to:

  • Select, develop, and guide, or change, the project manager to achieve project goals;
  • Hold the Project Manager accountable for fulfilling the responsibilities listed above;
  • Support the Project Manager in obtaining resources and tools needed to conduct the project;
  • Require regular status briefings and design reviews, and pass pertinent information up the line;
  • Is responsible for the evaluation of the project.
  • Advise the Project Manager on conditions likely to cause project risks; and
  • Be an advocate for the Project Manager and the project team.

These tasks below are best performed when done by a competent project manager under the supervision of a programme manager. In some cases however projects are prepared by non-implementing experts.

  • Understand the project requirements and ensure they are thoroughly and unambiguously documented;
  • Prepare a project plan with achievable cost, schedule, and performance goals;
  • Identify and manage project risks ;

When a project is designed by non implementing staff, the implementing team should revise the plan, understand it well and eventually modify it as to suite the team competences and vision.

  • While "control" is done by the project manager (that include monitoring of subordinates and self-evaluation) project evaluation is generally done directly or through a group by the line manager of the project manager and is an activity occurring in the "shared field" between project and programme management.

A fundamental of programme/project management is that : a good deal of managerial autonomy (from institutional superiors) is given to the project manager to lead the project team to implement the Project Plan Document, in order to deliver the project results according the methodology indicated in the plan and within the cost and time limits previously defined; the project manager and the project team have no authority to change project scope and methodology, nor to increase budget and time allocations and that for whatever modification to the project plan they have to get the approval of the other stakeholders through a previously defined change process that will lead to formally agreed

  • Changes to Project Scope,
  • Changes to the Project Schedule
  • Changes to the Costs Established in the Project Budget.

Tools edit

Templates edit

  Interpersonal skill assessment
  Performance appraisal forms

Guidelines edit

  Checklist for Identifying Performance Problems
  Why do organisations need to plan and manage their communication?
  How team members can improve overall project communication
  Measures to make teams more performing
  Required characteristics of the project manager
  The 10 Project Management Guiding Principles
  Ethical Leadership Principles

See also edit

 How to design and manage successful cooperation programmes?

In other sections of this handbook
  What is a programme
  The 3 level hierarchy of programme objectives
  Determining the project manager
  Leading and Managing