Program management roles can vary depending on the semantics of the organization and the needs of the business. But most times, we find Program Managers at large companies handling cross-functional and dynamic initiatives. This is because companies want to get the best of Program Managers.

Most of the time, Program Managers are part of the inner group: the Project Management Office (PMO). Technical Program Managers are not limited to PMOs. We can find them in sales, support, legal, services, and even marketing groups. This role has been growing in the companies which have a center of excellence (COE). The goal of the COE is to improve the process and efficiency of the organization.

Program Managers focus on serving internal teams or external clients. This role entirely depends upon the specifics of the organization. But here is a basic overview:

Internal (T) Program Manager

The focus area of Program Managers depends on their organization. For IT Program Managers, their stakeholders are only internal. Let’s use Information Technology (IT) as an example. Suppose, a company acquired the company name B. After the acquisition, they would like to consolidate their technology stack for homogeneity. In this case, the Program Manager needs to put up a plan to guide the whole organization.


Most of the Program Manager roles are internal in which stakeholders are in the organization.

Infrastructure TPM is a critical role in which the impact is massive. The Program Manager is the owner of shared technical resources, who releases and establishes processes around it. The Program Manager needs to have effective communication that will help in negotiating and conflict resolution as well.


Some Program Managers work on the delivery and multiple releases of products. Their roles and responsibilities involved in sprint planning and coordination among different stakeholders to launch the products. They work with Product Managers to get the requirements, work with engineers to develop the product, and release managers to ship the product.

External (T) Program Manager

External Technical Program Manager is an engaging and different role because it involves stakeholders outside of the organization. This role involves whether negotiating a contract with a third party or how customers interact with the product. In this role, the Program Manager may need to serve as the customer interface. The person will interact with them to understand and gather the requirements.


A Program Manager in the services team is a crucial one. They oversee new offerings and track the health of existing offerings. Services Program Managers share some of the responsibilities of a product Program Manager, for example, shipping the services of a product. The program Manager is also responsible for onboarding the people who deliver the service to customers. It means their learning and development is also owned by the Program Manager.


A Program Manager in a support organization looks for cross-functional initiatives and how to improve the customer experience from support. It can be improving the product quality or support quality as well.


Interested Program Managers can explore positions in various fields.

Engineering Program Manager

Sometimes called “Software Development Project Managers,” Engineering Program Managers oversee software and web projects. Their responsibilities include managing the testing, troubleshooting, and evaluation of software throughout the development process. They find solutions to technical issues and measure the risks of projects. They can also use their technical knowledge to devise project plans in line with company goals.

Program Manager-support/Customer success

Program Managers play a critical role in business performance and success. They are responsible for licensing, SKUs, training, and development of support engineers as well customers.

HR Manager

It involves developing specifications for job classifications and designing HR training programs. It can also include analyzing HR trends to create and revise program goals.

IT Program Manager

The role of the information technology (IT) Program Manager involves working across departments to address IT issues. They are responsible for delivering expert advice on IT management procedures and policies. They guide company leaders on the roadmap for integrating the applications in the organization. They also look for compliance-related issues.

Startups vs. big tech

Many people might be wondering whether they should join a startup or big technology company for a TPM role. There is a lot of difference between both as the role is very vague in startups. In a startup, we will be a jack of all trades and fill gaps across the organization. However, in big companies, we will have clear roles and responsibilities.

In a startup, this role is very hollow as we handle multiple responsibilities and interact with sales and engineering, while sprint planning at the same time. Also, there are higher expectations in startups because every role is critical for the business. So, we need to learn and adapt fast. Moreover, our work may change with time as well. We will end up working where our organization needs us most.

Also, it does not mean everyone should avoid startups. I am trying to explain that the TPM role can be chaos in startups where a person handles everything and nothing too. Some people like this type of role, and others do not like it. Hence, it depends on the person. Also, startups have a limited number of positions for TPMs, which means we can only grow up to a certain point. Meanwhile, there is an infinite scope for growth in bigger companies.

The upward trajectory is exceptional at FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) companies. They have different hierarchies and organizations for TPMs. Also, they need more people at the senior level to provide input on high-level roadmaps and the growth of the company. We can grow internally with our performance and climb up the ladder to a Director role.