The Programme Manager has to plan and schedule the projects to deliver the benefits as early as possible, for example if a the programme was to introduce a new production line, in a new building to include a new machine, and a new crane to handle the products for the machine.
The programme manager would perhaps organise the projects 1, a new access road to the site of the new building(enabling plant and labour to get to the next project), 2, the new building(cover and a base for the new machinery and crane), 3, the overhead crane and training, into the building(installed before the machinery and workers trained in its use, to aid in the handling of the new machinery installation, saving costs on additional cranage), 4, the new machinery.
The Programme Manager needs to be able to prioritise resources across projects; for example if the new production line programme above has progressed better than expected and is ready for the power cable to be installed, but the in electricians are working on the next phase of the programme, the programme manager may want to delay that project and prioritise the resources in this instance the electricians and the cable to finish the new production line, and enable production (business as usual) to start, realising those benefits for the business early.
The programme manager will support and motivate the project teams, for example a project manager may be struggling to resolve conflicting interests between the project and business as usual, the programme manager may advise on a path forward, or even assist in negotiations with the conflicting parties, and help bring about a satisfactory outcome.
If a project is struggling the programme manager might agree to divert extra resources to bring the project back on course.
The programme manager should make sure that Risks and lessons learnt are communicated across all the projects in the programme, the projects should be working to the same assurance criteria, it is important that all projects in the programme sing from the same hymn sheet, for example all engineers working on site on any of the projects will have the same site specific induction, although some may have additional inductions to suit their area of work.
Perhaps a specific contractor is constantly late with deliveries, this information should be passed onto other projects in the programme, perhaps it will be decided that the preferred supplier is dropped, for the other projects.
Perhaps a very hot summer has caused heat stress problems at height, this will need to be conveyed to the other projects so precautions can be put in place and monitored.
The Programme Manager should communicate with the project teams and the business, for example if a large delivery is expected at a certain time and date, the business will need to be informed of the plans, it may be that the business has an extremely urgent job that has to be completed at just this moment in time and to delay it, could invoke penalty clauses that would cost a substantial figure, it may be better to delay or bring forward the timing of the projects large delivery to avoid conflict of interest. The program manager would convey this information to the project team.