Program Manager

The Program Manager coordinates a shrink-wrap product over multiple functional disciplines such as marketing, manufacturing, engineering, sales, etc. This role is often the one that reports overall progress and status to upper management in the company.

It's still an open question about exactly how this plays in XP, but see some of Kent's thoughts in an InterviewWithKent.

Microsoft calls this roll ProjectManager. Spyglass, in its heyday, called it ProjectCoordinator?, a title that I prefer, since ProjectCoordinator?-s were peers to programmers. The peer-to-peer relationship was vital. The PC's job wasn't to order programmers around, but rather to help them achieve their goals. -- JohnBrewer

I don't think you can effectively lead just by ordering people around. Everyone is responsible only for their own jobs and it is important to trust each person to do their jobs. As programmers, we're responsible for solving technical problems. The most common concept of a manager is responsible for allocating resources, solving process problems, enforcing process and shielding the rest of the team from politics. I've noticed that when the manager encroaches past the engineering line or engineers are asked to make management decisions, havoc ensues. This includes ThreeRingBinders that enforce rules to proactively prevent mistakes by making "hard" decisions for you.

Lately, when I find myself in a leadership role, I keep my focus solely on making the engineers (which usually includes me) capable of focusing solely on their job. Most of this philosophy comes from the beginning chapters of DebuggingTheDevelopmentProcess. -- SunirShah

PortfolioManagement responsibilities

ProgramManager is different from ProjectManager. ProjectManager has a "project", which is to get something 'done', such as build the next release of the software. The ProgramManager has to coordinate that building with other activities going on around the product or program. People who have held this position tell me it is extremely intricate, on the order of playing multiple chess games simultaneously, where ProjectManager is playing only one chess game at a time.

At Spyglass, Project Coordinators handled both roles. That may be why we burned them out so quickly. -- JohnBrewer

EditText of this page (last edited April 28, 2005) or FindPage with title or text search