Department of Defense (DoD) policy requires that a program manager be designated for each acquisition
program. The role of the program manager2 is to direct the development, production, and initial deployment (as a minimum) of a new Defense system. This must be done within limits of cost, schedule, and performance, as approved by the program manager's acquisition executive (see Chapter 5). The program manager's role, then, is to be the agent of the military service or Defense agency in the Defense acquisition system to ensure the warfighter's modernization requirements are met efficiently and effectively in the shortest possible time.
Definition of Program
The process whereby a single leader exercises
centralized authority and responsibility for planning, organizing, staffing,
controlling, and leading the combined efforts of participating/ assigned
civilian and military personnel and organizations, for the management of a
specific Defense acquisition program or programs, through development,
production, deployment, operations, support, and
Program management must first take into account
diverse interests and points of view. Second, it facilitates tailoring the
management system and techniques to the uniqueness of the program. Third, it
represents integration of a complex system of differing but related functional
disciplines3 that must work together to achieve program goals.
Program Manager's Perspective
The effective program manager should have the "big picture" perspective of
the program, including in-depth knowledge of the interrelationships among its
elements. An effective program manager:
- is a leader and a manager, not primarily a task "doer;"
- understands the requirements, environmental factors, organizations,
activities, constraints, risks, and motivations impacting the
- knows and is capable of working within the established framework,
managerial systems, and processes that provide funding and other decisions
for the program to proceed;
- comprehends and puts to use the basic skills of management - planning,
organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling - so people and systems
harmonize to produce the desired results;
- coordinates the work of Defense industry contractors, consultants,
in-house engineers and logisticians, contracting officers, and others,
whether assigned directly to the program office or supporting it through
some form of integrated product team or matrix support
- builds support for the program and monitors reactions and perceptions
which help or impede progress; and
- serves both the military needs of the user in the field and the priority
and funding constraints imposed by managers in the Pentagon and military
service/Defense agency headquarters.
Why is Program Management Used in Defense Acquisition?
Program management provides for a single point of
contact, the program manager, who is the major force for directing the system
through its evolution, including design, development, production, deployment,
operations and support, and disposal. The program manager, while perhaps being
unable to control the external environment, has man-agement authority over
business and technical aspects of a specific program. The program manager has
only one responsibility - man-aging the program - and accountability is clear.
Defense industry typically follows a management process similar to that used
by DoD. Often contractors will staff and operate their program office to
parallel that of the government program they support.
Integrated Product and Process Development
Integrated product and process development is a management process that
integrates all activities from the concept of a new Defense system through the
entire life cycle (see Chapter 7), using multidisciplinary teams, called
integrated product teams.
The Program Manager and Integrated Product Teams
An integrated product team is composed of representatives from all
appropriate functional disciplines working together with a team leader to
facilitate management of acquisition programs. Integrated product teams exist
at the oversight and review levels (see Chapter 5), as well as teams at the
program office level. The program office level integrated product teams may be
structured around the major design aspects of the system under development,
such as an "engine Integrated Product Team," or processes like a "test
Integrated Product Team." Following contract award, program level integrated
product teams often include contractor participation.
The DoD has recognized the importance of integrated product teams as a
means to aid the program manager, and as a way to streamline the decision
process. By working as part of cross-functional teams, issues can be
identified and resolved more quickly, and stakeholder involvement in the
overall success of the program maximized. In this way the program manager
capitalizes on the strengths of all the stakeholders in the Defense
2The term "program manager" is used broadly here. Some
DoD components use different titles. For example, the Army uses "project" and
"product" manager depending on the authorized rank of the position.
3Functional disciplines refer to business and
financial management, logistics, systems engineering, software management,
test and evaluation, manufacturing management, and