Program Management

Program Managers within a Team

Introduction: In Part III of this deep dive into program management, Director Carla Walker shares how PMs work in tandem with other departments, how they analyze risk, and what standards they uphold for the organization. Watch below or read the transcript.


Let’s now visit the implementation side of PM Services. Look, we all know contracts come in the blink of an eye, and sometimes that means smaller organizations are in the stage of recruiting talent for those contracts. If you have experienced PMs within your organization, they can often times wear many different hats because they have spent so much time working closely with subject matter experts in their fields and can cover down to execute on tasks during that transition phase.

They also have an innate ability to look at the scope of a contract and glean what they need for it to be successful by identifying the number of resources the type of resources and manipulate scope and timelines to adhere to the contract requirements. Immediately at the onset of a contract being awarded, the PM should develop the WBS based on the scope of work and then start to build out their project plan.

The plan will become the program team’s holy grail to ensure work is being completed timely. And all deliverables are successfully met. It also aligns all resources to stay on track, and assigns work based on the team member skill set.

Creative visionaries and PMs will oftentimes clash. These big thinkers will come to the table with grandiose ideas, sometimes unrealistic expectations and timelines.

And PMs are wired to think through all the details and risks involved because they immediately are thinking about all the implementation steps to see the vision to success. Both parties will be required to get out of their comfort zones and listen to each other in order to come to a middle ground, which in many cases result in successful execution. The final service that no one ever likes to deal with in a program or organization is compliance and risk. It’s the service that is the most dreaded.

What are you doing to be proactive to control the things that could go wrong? Who thinks this way? The PM does. Within the compliance side, the PM’s responsibility on contract is to ensure the team is adhering to all the contractual requirements. They should be familiar enough or seek expertise with complying with the industry’s statutory governance. This can include having familiarity with ISO, International Organization for Standardization, NIST, National Institute of Standards and Technology, CMMI, the Capability Maturity Model Integration, and other regulatory requirements. Another area includes risk management. This is instilled in a PM early on in their careers.

It’s a major component that must be understood for any PM certification. Risk is the ability to be proactive to ensure nothing bad happens. So the PMs always maintain a risk registry and continuously monitor risks to report to the appropriate stakeholders.

I hope you enjoyed hearing all the benefits PMs can offer your company and you too make the decision to invest in such talent.


Missed Part II? Watch here.

About the Author

Carla Walker

With 20 years of experience, Carla is a leader among peers with a proven record of project management success. Her experience includes leading over 50 business and technology projects using both agile and waterfall methods, with budgets exceeding $5 million, stakeholders of 100+, supporting 20+applications, and timelines exceeding 5 years, working in the financial and educational technology industry. In addition to her PMP, Carla is also a certified ScrumMaster. She also holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Maryland.