What Do Technical Program Managers Do?

A brief overview of what technical program managers do and why the role exists.


This course is intended to be straightforward with minimal fluff. You're likely here because you want to dive deeper into the craft of technical program management (TPgM). This course will help you understand the essential frameworks, skills, and challenges associated with being a technical program manager.

With that being said, let's jump right in.

What do technical program managers do?

Let's start with the most basic definition of what a technical program manager does:

Note: A technical program manager drives strategically impactful and complex initiatives that span multiple organizations and teams.

Throughout this course, we'll learn what a highly effective technical program manager looks like. This means we'll have to define how technical program management came to be.

But first, to better understand what technical program managers do, we also need to know why the role of a technical program manager exists.

Why do technical program managers exist?

Simply stated, technical program managers exist to relieve the pain points when a company lacks scaled execution.

Scaled execution is a breadth-focused process that helps a company successfully execute strategically important and inherently complex initiatives. Technical program managers help companies grow this muscle.

As a company expands, it may begin to see pain points due to underdeveloped scaled execution practices. These may include the following:

  • It becomes increasingly difficult to track dependent teams and services across the company.

  • There's an immense challenge with communication across a broad set of stakeholders.

  • Progress seems to be slowing down. Deadlines are either missed or always at risk.

  • The quality of work coming out of complex initiatives begins to degrade.

  • There's attrition from skilled domain experts who decide to leave for another company.

  • Tech debt accumulates due to a lack of engineering alignment.

The connective tissue

So, where does a technical program manager fit in?

The technical program manager connects all the pieces of a complex initiative.

Every human body has connective tissueIts only function is to protect, support, and provide structure to other parts of the body.. Similarly, technical program managers support all the other vital team members. Without a technical program manager connecting/supporting a program, a company can become susceptible to disjointed execution, unaligned strategy, and deflated outcomes.

Technical program management isn't necessarily the connective tissue for the entire company but rather for a specific part of it.


  • A technical program manager drives forward strategically important and complex initiatives that span multiple organizations and teams.

  • Technical program managers exist in a company to relieve the pain points when a company lacks scaled execution.

  • Technical program managers connect the pieces of a complex initiative.

This course will teach you how to implement these skills effectively.

Quiz: Technical Program Management Basics


What is the primary deliverable of a technical program manager?


Driving strategically important and complex initiatives forward.


Taking notes during important meetings so others can focus on talking during those meetings.


Focusing on risk management exclusively.


Partnering with product managers to create cool program roadmaps.

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