Program director

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Description

A program director is responsible for leading and managing the setting up of the program through to the delivery of the new capabilities and realisation of benefits. Managing a program is not simply a line management function overseeing the delivery of a number of projects. The program director role involves proactive interventions and decision-making to ensure that the program stays on track – particularly when the program path is not clear or the program environment is in a state of flux. Successful delivery will depend on the effective management of issues, conflicts, priorities, communications and personnel. The program director will need the ability to work positively with the full range of individuals and groups involved in the program – particularly the senior responsible owner and any business change manager(s).

An example of this is the Integrated Justice Information Strategy Program managed by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General. The program was formed to enable all criminal justice agencies (including the Queensland Police Service, department of Attorney-General, Queensland Corrective Services and the Department of Communities) to provide an integrated criminal justice sector that delivers informed justice solutions. The program is made up of a number of individual projects. The sum of the benefits to be realised from these projects will increase access to information and reduce duplication of tasks. These benefits could not be achieved individually from these projects – synergy is created when they are managed as a Program.

The program director is responsible for providing leadership, management, coordination, and direction to teams delivering ICT Projects as part of a program. 

The program director will liaise closely with ICT project managers, clients and stakeholders to plan, prioritise and resource the program.

A program director exhibits capabilities in line with the Queensland Government ICT Skills Framework1, which consists of the Skills Framework for the Information Age2 (SFIA) and the Queensland Public Service Capability and Leadership Framework3 (CLF).

Within the SFIA profile, the program director has level 6 and 7 capabilities, i.e. sets strategy, initiates, influences, inspires and mobiles the skills outlined below.

 

Category  Skill/description Level Code
Business change  Program management: Sets organisational strategy governing the direction and conduct of program management, including application of appropriate methodologies. Plans, directs, and co-ordinates activities to manage and implement complex programs from contract /proposal initiation to final operational stage. Aligns the program objectives with business objectives, and authorises the selection and planning of all related projects and activities. Plans, schedules, monitors, and reports on activities related to the program, ensuring that there are appropriate and effective governance arrangements, supported by comprehensive reporting.  7 - set strategy, inspire, mobile PGMG 
Business change  Project management: Takes full responsibility for the definition, documentation and successful completion of complex projects (typically greater than 12 months, with significant business, political, or high-profile impact, and high-risk dependencies), ensuring that realistic project, quality, change control and risk management processes are maintained. Monitors and controls resources, revenue and capital costs against the project budget and manages expectations of all project stakeholders.  6 - initiate, influence PRMG 
Business change  Change implementation planning and management: Ensures that there is a business perspective on how the new technical capabilities will be delivered to the business, including planning around key business cycles, selecting appropriate customers for migration, etc. Initiates the business implementation plan, including all the activities that the business needs to do to prepare for new technical components and technologies. Ensures sites deliver site implementation plans that align with the overall plan. Tracks and reports against these activities to ensure progress. Defines and manages the activities to ensure achievement of the business case after delivery. Outlines key business engagement messages that need to take place throughout the program/project.  6 - initiate, influence CIPM 
Business change  Stakeholder relationship management: Supports business change, acting as a single point of contact for senior stakeholders, facilitating relationships between them. Ensures that stakeholders understand available IT services, and promotes financial and commercial awareness in order to deliver value-for-money. Conducts analysis of demand for services and influences stakeholders to ensure that the necessary investments are made to deliver required services. Negotiates at senior level on technical and commercial issues, to ensure that customers, suppliers and other stakeholders understand and agree what will meet their needs, and that appropriate service level agreements are defined. Oversees monitoring of relationships including lessons learned and appropriate feedback. Initiates improvement in services, products and systems.  6 - initiate, influence  RLMT 
Business change  Benefits management:  Promotes the change program vision to staff at all levels of the business operation, brings order to complex situations, and keeps a focus on business objectives. Works with senior people responsible for the line business operation, to ensure maximum improvements are made in the business operations as groups of projects deliver their products into operational use.  Maintains the business case for funding the program and confirms continuing business viability of the program at regular intervals. 6 - initiate, influence BENM

The program director is aligned to Queensland Public Service Capability and Leadership Framework4 level 9.

Capability Component Description

Shapes strategic thinking

Harnesses information and opportunities

Gathers and investigates information from a variety of sources, and explores new ideas and different viewpoints.  Probes information and identifies any critical gaps.  Maintains an awareness of the organisation, looks for recent developments that may impact on own business area and find out about best practice approaches.

Achieves results

Builds organisational capability and responsiveness

Evaluates ongoing project performance and identifies critical success factors. Instigates continuous improvement activities. Responds flexibly to changing demands. Builds teams with complementary skills and allocates resources in a manner that delivers results.

Cultivates productive working relationships

Facilitates cooperation and partnerships

Brings people together and encourages input from key stakeholders. Finds opportunities to share information and ensures that others are kept informed of issues. Fosters teamwork and rewards cooperative and collaborative behaviour. Resolves conflict using appropriate strategies.

Exemplifies personal drive and integrity

Demonstrates public service professionalism and probity

Adapts a principled approach and adheres to public service values and Code of Conduct. Acts professionally and impartially at all times and operates within the boundaries of organisational processes and legal and public policy constraints. Operates as an effective representative of the organisation in public and internal forums.

Communicates with influence

Communicates clearly

Confidently presents messages in a clear, concise and articulate manner. Translates information for others, focusing on key points and using appropriate unambiguous language. Selects the most appropriate medium for conveying information and structures written and oral communication to ensure clarity.

Entry points

Whilst a formal tertiary qualification is considered highly advantageous to work as a program director, it is not essential. Significant experience working within project teams and managing programs is essential and experience within the area of ICT is highly regarded. Very strong communication and negotiation skills are essential, as is a thorough understanding of organisational strategic objectives and goals.  Skills in team leadership and risk management are essential for a program director.

Undergraduate courses in information technology or business and certification and accreditation courses in project and program management are well regarded.

Learning and development

There are a number of ways to develop and improve program management skills. Formal training and on the job experience are important ways to improve and develop the required skills.

Skills in program management can be gained by attending courses in program management.

Extensive information on program management is included on the Queensland Government methodologies website for use by all Queensland Government agencies.

 


1 The Queensland Government ICT Skills Framework underpins workforce capability improvement activities. It is designed to provide a consistent approach and language for ICT skill management, capability and leadership to enable maximised organisational performance and to help build a sustainable workforce. For more information, visit the ICT Skills Framework page on this site, under projects and services > ICT workforce capability.

2 The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) provides a common language that integrates with an organisation's way of working, to improve capability and resource planning, resource deployment and performance management. This role profile quotes extensively from the SFIA, under licence from the SFIA Foundation. Information about the SFIA can be found at www.sfia-online.org

3 Departments may choose to maintain/continue to use an existing, alternative capability development framework, in which case, the Public Service Commission (PSC) will require a copy of a mapping or alignment document.

4 The Queensland Public Service Capability and Leadership Framework is designed to 'be used as a centre piece for discussion around strengthening the work performance of individuals and teams and to inform decisions around determining and prioritising appropriate professional development and learning'. For more information, visit the CLF web page on the Public Service Commission's website, under corporate publications.

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