A program office manager is the lead role in the program office. The program office may be dedicated to supporting a single program, or it may support a number of programs. The level of resourcing for the program office will vary depending on the size and capabilities of the agency. For example, with appropriate expertise, the program office may be a centre of excellence for all programs and projects within the agency, providing specialist expertise and facilitation across the program and it’s projects. In many cases, the manager of the program office will also act as deputy to the program manager.
The program office usually provides two separate functions – strategic support to programs and projects; and operational support to programs and projects. In many instances the strategic aspects are moved to a portfolio management office or officer leaving the program office to provide an information hub for, and operational support to, programs and constituent projects. This typically involves helping the programs and projects perform appropriate levels of:
- tracking and reporting
- information management
- financial accounting
- risks and issue tracking
- quality control
- change control
- benefits tracking.
The program office is comprised of a number of full and part-time experts and resources providing an environment to make programs and projects successful. They might include subject matter experts, tool experts, business process experts, administrative support, register or log (e.g. risk, issue, benefits) ownership etc.
A program office manager exhibits capabilities in line with the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and the Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile.
Within the SFIA profile, the program office manager has level 5 and 6 capabilities, i.e. ensures and advises on the skills outlined and initiates and influences their use. The SFIA profile is outlined below.
Works under broad direction. Work is often self-initiated. Is fully responsible for meeting allocated technical and/or project/supervisory objectives. Establishes milestones and has a significant role in the assignment of tasks and/or responsibilities.
Influences organisation, customers, suppliers, partners and peers on the contribution of own specialism. Builds appropriate and effective business relationships. Makes decisions which impact the success of assigned work, i.e. results, deadlines and budget. Has significant influence over the allocation and management of resources appropriate to given assignments.
Performs an extensive range and variety of complex technical and/or professional work activities. Undertakes work which requires the application of fundamental principles in a wide and often unpredictable range of contexts. Understands the relationship between own specialism and wider customer/organisational requirements.
Advises on the available standards, methods, tools and applications relevant to own specialism and can make appropriate choices from alternatives. Analyses, designs, plans, executes and evaluates work to time, cost and quality targets. Assesses and evaluates risk. Communicates effectively, both formally and informally. Demonstrates leadership. Facilitates collaboration between stakeholders who have diverse objectives. Takes all requirements into account when making proposals. Takes initiative to keep skills up to date. Mentors colleagues. Maintains an awareness of developments in the industry. Analyses requirements and advises on scope and options for continuous operational improvement. Demonstrates creativity, innovation and ethical thinking in applying solutions for the benefit of the customer/stakeholder.
SFIA Skill Code
SFIA Skill Level of Responsibility
SFIA Skills Level Descriptor
Takes responsibility for understanding client requirements, collecting data, delivering analysis and problem resolution. Identifies, evaluates and recommends options, implementing if required. Collaborates with, and facilitates stakeholder groups, as part of formal or informal consultancy agreements. Seeks to fully address client needs, enhancing the capabilities and effectiveness of client personnel, by ensuring that proposed solutions are properly understood and appropriately exploited.
Plans, directs, and co-ordinates activities to manage and implement a programme from contract /proposal initiation to final operational stage including the transition into “business-as-usual”; plans, schedules, monitors, and reports on activities related to the programme. Ensures that programmes are managed to realise business benefits and that programme management is informed by an awareness of current technical developments.
Change implementation planning and management
Creates the business readiness plan, taking into consideration IT deployment, data migration, capability deployment (training and engagement activities) and any business activities required to integrate new digital processes or jobs into the "business as usual" environment. Determines the readiness levels of business users with regard to upcoming changes; uncovers readiness gaps and creates and implements action plans to close the gaps prior to going live. Assists the user community in the provision of transition support and change planning, and liaises with the project team. Monitors and reports progress on business readiness targets, business engagement activity, training design and deployment activities, key operational metrics and return to productivity measures. Defines the series and sequence of activities to bring stakeholders to the required level of commitment, prior to going live.
Queensland Government roles align with the Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile.
The success profile is a sector wide, one-government approach to the leadership behaviours expected of all public sector employees to support high performing workplaces. The profile describes three performance dimensions (vision, results and accountability) and 13 leadership competencies required against four role types:
- Individual contributor (manages self)
- Team leader (manages individuals)
- Program manager (manages multiple teams/projects)
- Executive (manages program managers)
When developing a Role Description, identify the role type and then focus on the most important attributes and create a balance between SFIA skills and leadership skills.
Whilst a formal tertiary qualification is considered highly advantageous to work as a program manager, it is not essential. Significant experience working within project teams and managing projects 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 manager.
Undergraduate courses in information technology or business and certification and accreditation courses in project and program management are well regarded.
 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 http://www.sfia-online.org/en
 The Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile plays a key role in translating the government’s ‘talent management requirements’ into clear behavioural terms, while at the same time delivering organisational change and growth. The success profile is being utilised to align sector-wide talent management strategies, including workforce planning, talent acquisition, leadership development, capability development, performance management, career management and succession planning. See http://www.psc.qld.gov.au/includes/assets/PSC_Workforce_Capability_Success_Profile.pdf