In reading this article and the subsequest posts to it, I find that the article itself seems to have the relationship a bit reversed and even perhaps mis-aligned. In my limited experience in Program, Product and Project management often Project & Product Managers are more of a peer relationship as a Product Manager may be responsible for a specific product or product line and a project manager responsible for delivery of a specific product model or enhancement etc.. but niether really had the role & relationship described in the article.
A Program Manager typically had the relationship described in the article to both the Product and Project Manager.
I believe that the major responsibility areas listed in the article of what would be a Program Manager fall short of reality.
I. Product Manager
The title of Product Manager refers to a collective term often used to describe a combination of roles that form the Product Management Team Model.
The product management team is a task group, comprised of four distinct roles that organizationally resides in the Product Management department. The four roles in the product management team model are the product planner, product marketer, sales engineer, and marketing communications (MarCom) manager. These four roles are the basic providers of the planning, deliverables, and actions that guide the inbound oriented product definition and the outbound marketing efforts.
The most common combination of roles to which the Product Manager title is attributed, are the product planner and product marketer.
Diverse interpretations regarding the role of the product manager are the norm. The product manager title is often used in many ways to describe drastically different duties and responsibilities. Even within the high-tech industry where product management is better defined, the product manager's job description varies widely among companies. This is due to tradition and intuitive interpretations by different individuals.
In some companies, the product manager also acts as:
Product Marketing Manager - may perform all outbound marketing activities
Project Manager - may perform all activities related to schedule and resource management
Program Manager - may perform activities related to schedule, resource, and cross-functional execution
II. Product Management
Product management is an organizational function within a company dealing with the product planning or product marketing of a product or products at all stages of the product lifecycle.
Product Management is also a collective term used to describe the broad sum of diverse activities performed in the interest of delivering a particular product to market.
From a practical perspective, product management is an occupational domain which hold two professional disciplines: product planning and product marketing. This is because the product's functionality is created for the user via product planning efforts, and product value is presented to the buyer via product marketing activities.
Product planning and product marketing are very different but due to the collaborative nature of these two disciplines, some companies erroneously perceive them as being one discipline, which they call product management. Done carefully, it is very possible to functionally divide the product management domain into product planning and product marketing, yet retain the required synergy between the two disciplines.
Product planning typically deals with these activities:
Defining new products and gathering market requirements
Product Life Cycle considerations
Product portfolio management
Product marketing typically deals with these activities:
Product positioning and outbound messaging
Promoting the product externally with press, customers, and partners
Bringing new products to market
Product management typically deals with these closely-related functions:
III. Project Management
Project Management is the discipline of organizing and managing resources in such a way that these resources deliver all the work required to complete a project within defined scope, quality, time and cost constraints. A project is a temporary and one-time endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service, that brings about beneficial change or added value. This property of being a temporary and a one-time undertaking contrasts with processes, or operations, which are permanent or semi-permanent ongoing functional work to create the same product or service over and over again. The management of these two systems is often very different and requires varying technical skills and philosophy, hence requiring the development of project management.
The first challenge of project management is to ensure that a project is delivered within defined constraints. The second, more ambitious challenge is the optimized allocation and integration of inputs needed to meet pre-defined objectives. A project is a carefully defined set of activities that use resources (money, people, materials, energy, space, provisions, communication, quality, risk, etc.) to meet the pre-defined objectives.
IV. Program Management
Program management is the process of managing multiple ongoing inter-dependent projects. An example would be that of designing, manufacturing and providing support infrastructure for an automobile manufacturer. This requires hundreds, or even thousands, of separate projects. In an organization or enterprise, Program Management also reflects the emphasis on coordinating and prioritizing resources across projects, departments, and entities to ensure that resource contention is managed from a global focus.
The UK government has invested heavily in program management. In Europe, the term normally refers to multiple change projects: projects that are designed to deliver benefits to the host organization.
Program management provides a layer above project management focusing on selecting the best group of programs, defining them in terms of their constituent projects and providing an infrastructure where projects can be run successfully but leaving project management to the project management community.
Program management responsibilities can vary. For instance, manufacturing program management responsibilities will be much different than program management responsibilities for a pharmaceutical trial and data collection program.
Key factors in Program Management
Governance: Programs need a more robust structure and control because of the larger impact their failure can have
Management: At the lowest level project managers co-ordinate individual projects. They are overseen by the Program Manager who accounts to the Program Sponsor (or board).
Finances: Tracking of finances is an important part of Program Management and basic costs together with wider costs of administering the program are all tracked.
Infrastructure: Allocation of resources influences the cost and success of the program. The Program Management office monitors overall and project specific resource usage.
Planning: Each project manager creates a plan which fits in with the wider plan of the Program itself.../
In short the Product and Proejct Manager roles overlap and are often more at a peer level and the role outlined in the article is more along the path of a Program Manager.