Program manager

Accessibility is more than one project, it's many programs that support strategic goals

Why this matters

Whatever the job title is — program manager or project manager — this role oversees the implementation of the various tactics that support strategic goals.

For example, these are all long term tactics that require a sustained dedicated program manager.

  • Assessments followed by widespread remediation
  • Generating or purchasing training content by role
  • Organizing an accessibility champions program
  • Scheduling and promoting a speaking event series
  • Requiring atomic accessibility acceptance criteria in development

In a sufficiently broad enterprise, there may be multiple people dedicated to these programs.

Team alignment

Can explain the strategies and tactics

The team will operate multiple long term measurable programs and complete many series of projects in service of strategic goals.

Every member of the team (including the program manager) must demonstrate their ability to communicate the key performance indicators (KPIs) and tactics being used to achieve them.

This understanding allows your program to make progress as a unified team, report impact to leadership and show their effectiveness.

If you can’t communicate progress to leadership, your team will not seem effective or valuable to the enterprise.

Diligently uses a project management tool

There is no one right method of project management. Choose one and make it part of the team’s daily or weekly rituals.

Whether it’s an online to-do board, a workflow builder, or a physical kanban board of sticky notes, a single project management tool is central to the team’s sustained work and collaborative efforts.

Core responsibilities

Programs are a collection of tasks that form a group of work that is ongoing. The recipient of this work is the organization itself.

The programs must be structured in a way to generate metrics for the team’s data analyst to correlate the success of the program to meeting strategic goals.

The accessibility team’s program manager must be an inquisitive data driven role with the following assigned responsibilities.

Collaborates with allied teams

A resourceful accessibility program seeks out overlapping and aligned interests within the organization. These interests often already have infrastructure, funding and access to resources and tools.

  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Legal counsel
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) analysts
  • Performance analysts
  • Groups that may be more challenging
  • Marketing
  • Design systems
  • Front end development managers
  • QA testers

Tracks programs in relation to strategic goals

Your accessibility teams work is turning the strategic goals into a cyclical series of actions or tactics that can be directly measured as outcomes. The program manager’s job is to implement those tactics and confirm it contributes to achieving strategic goals.

If a tactic isn’t helping accomplish a strategic goal, it should either be reformed or dropped.

For example, if a company accessibility newsletter was chosen as a communications tactic, but open rates and interactions are very low, it’s time to consider changing the delivery method or trying a different tactic altogether. Could that same capacity be spent making a stronger expert speaker series?

Studies the organization before implementation

Acknowledging that every enterprise (and even products within) can operate with completely different processes is part of the job. Before collecting data or beginning training, the program manager must understand the organization.

Adapting and improvising tactics to the situation and culture of a specific team is necessary to achieve results.

Program manager KPIs

Indicators your program manager and strategic goals align

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Team alignment
Core responsibilities
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