The Programme Director provides the interface between programme ownership and delivery and acts as a focal point between the business and the programme manager.

Purpose of the programme director role

The programme director is the client-side representative, acting as a single point of contact with a programme manager for the day-to-day management of the interests of the client organisation. It is a less common role and usually exists for cultural reasons within an organisation or where circumstances dictate that someone needs to perform some of the duties of Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) on a day-to-day basis.

The programme director is responsible for ongoing management on behalf of the SRO to ensure that desired programme outcomes and objectives are delivered. The person must have adequate knowledge and information about the business and the programme to be able to make informed decisions.

In the NI public sector, the programme director role is usually confined to major change programmes. Where roles are combined, it is essential that delegations and responsibilities are clearly understood and do not overlap with other roles. This role description assumes that the roles of SRO, programme director and programme manager are separate.

Specific responsibilities of the programme director

The programme director is responsible for:

  • ensuring an appropriate programme or project management framework is in place, incorporating the NI Gateway Review Process if required
  • preparing the programme brief, project initiation documents or equivalent and business case among other documents
  • appraising options and submitting for approval
  • securing resources and expertise from the client organisation as required, for example, appointing professional advisers to support the project sponsor role
  • co-ordinating and directing end user input
  • co-ordinating value management strategy
  • controlling changes following approval
  • determining and managing risks to the programme
  • managing the programme budget, including risk allowance
  • acting as sole point of contact with the programme manager
  • co-ordinating and fostering teamwork
  • managing the programme manager's performance of delegated responsibility
  • establishing formal reporting arrangements on programme or project progress
  • defining criteria for control and management of the programme or project
  • assisting the programme manager in the resolution of problems
  • receiving and reviewing detailed reports on the programme or project from the programme manager
  • ensuring the programme manager receives decisions on time
  • establishing, with the programme manager, a common approach to major issues that arise
  • establishing a mechanism to ensure regular dialogue with contractors to promote problem solving, team working and risk sharing

Skills and attributes needed by the programme director

The Programme Director should be able to:

  • apply quality management principles and processes
  • apply risk assessment and management principles and processes
  • network effectively, negotiate well and influence people
  • broker relationships with stakeholders within and outside the programme
  • be aware of the broader perspective and how it affects the programme
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