Fostering Collaboration

with an Empowered Technical Program Manager



By Dharma V. Mehta

California, USA



Employing technical program managers (TPMs) has become one of the more recent trends in the technology industry. A recent review of LinkedIn job posts finds that nearly 10,000 TPM positions are available in the United States, including opportunities within such major companies as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Netflix, Apple, Airbnb, Lyft, Uber, and Intel. The increase in demand for TPMs stems from a need to employ individuals who are capable of managing and delivering on complex projects that involve multiple stakeholders. While the goal seems clear and straightforward, there is an interesting irony. And that is, there is a lack of consistency in how the job is defined and therefore implemented. In some cases, hiring managers don’t really know what to expect from TPMs, which can result in biases that affect job performance. Add to that discussion the conversation about the degree of which hands-on technical skills are required, and the debate rages on. While it’s true that TPMs should possess a background in technology, this skill is not sufficient to effectively staff this role. An ability to collaborate with multiple stakeholders, to lead others without reliance on authority, and to make reasoned business decisions that are supported by those throughout an organization are much more important qualities for TPMs to exhibit.

Defining the role of the TPM

The role of the TPM is to be responsible for ensuring that projects and programs remain on schedule and that all stakeholders are able to prioritize the work in order to meet deadlines and deliver on customer satisfaction. As a baseline, qualified TPM candidates need to:

  • Display a business acumen that is customer centric and strategic
  • Demonstrate an ability to solve problems
  • Influence others in different departments to remain aligned for a common goal
  • Have organizational skills that lend to end to end project management
  • Be well versed in proactive risk management
  • Understand core concepts in technology software and/or hardware (including architecture design, that is required to complete jobs and tasks.)

The TPM will be responsible for coordination across diverse teams—for example, a customer interface for a new website that allows for product reviews. For this type of project to succeed, the TPM must be able to evaluate the end-to-end technical design and user functioning, to question the validity of potential problems related to design and/or functionality, and to determine the appropriate delegation of staff members and their responsibilities, such as back-end engineers, web developers, and testers. If and when complications arise, it is important for the TPM to be empowered to rank problems based on importance and severity and to understand which issues are most technically difficult to solve so that solutions can be accomplished and further problems can be mitigated…


To read entire article, click here


How to cite this article: Mehta, D.V. (2020).  Fostering Collaboration with an Empowered Technical Program Manager, PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue VII, July. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/pmwj95-Jul2020-Mehta-empowered-technical-program-manager2.pdf



About the Author

Dharma Mehta

California, USA




 Dharma Mehta, Director of Program Management at Roku, has 10+ years of professional experience at prestigious companies including Amazon, PayPal and Accenture, solving complex processes and technology problems with simplified solutions. He has expertise in the fields of technology portfolio/ program/ project management, driving software product development, advertising technology and platform business, strategic planning, building high performance teams, and transforming software experience for developers and end customers. He is particularly effective at optimizing performance of people, processes, and technology to deliver improved business outcomes. For more information call 408-987-1794 or email dharmamehta@gmail.com.