Program Manager Abilities at a Glance



I was looking for some of my old job descriptions for Program Manager positions to help out a colleague. 

While I didn’t find them, I did find some of the questions that I have used to evaluate a potential Program Manager’s effectiveness:

Project Management

  • ability to create a work breakdown structure (WBS)?
  • ability to manage a budget?
  • ability to organize scope in terms of incremental value?
  • ability to cut scope to manage quality, resources and effort?
  • ability to ship within short cycles? (1 month vs. 3 month vs. 6 month vs. 12 months)
  • ability to get budget support from another group/org?


  • ability to work effectively cross group?
  • how have you resolved design conflicts among a team?
  • how have you verified user experience?
  • lead a team through execution?
  • ability to inspire people?

Technical Expertise

  • ability to identify emerging and future problems/trends?
  • ability to identify key technical challenges within a problem space?
  • ability to identify and evaluate solution candidates/options?
  • ability to identify appropriate guidance within a given domain for a broad audience?

Customer Focus

  • ability to vet design decisions with customers?
  • ability to build, organize and rationalize customer data?
  • ability to organize guidance against user experiences?


  • ability to sell an idea?
  • ability to communicate technical concepts to individuals outside the internal development team?


  • passion for the job?
  • passion for making things happen?

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