How to hire the right Programme Director for Technology transformations

By Charlie Knight |

Transformation man


In the technological world, it is crucial that you stay ahead of the game. If you want your business to have any longevity, you need to ensure that you are always in a transient period. You can't just stick with one method of practice. If you do so, you could find that your company loses its edge. Much of the time, when business practices become stagnant, it is vital you alter the way you perform.

Business transformation is more than just a buzz phrase. It is something we should all strive for when we run a business. If you want to run a successful campaign and transform your company for the better, you need a leader who can help.

One of the main obstacles when it comes to this feat has to be internal management. For some bizarre reason, people want to avoid change at all costs. You might find that your team hold onto the old methods because they fear the new. If that is the case, you need an external party to take charge of the programme. Only then, can you give yourself the greatest possible chance of success.

What is a Programme Director?

The programme director is often an interim member of staff. When a business needs to change, this person can help them along the way. It is of the utmost importance that each company chooses the most qualified person for the job. This person should be an expert in developing technologies. It would also be a great benefit to the company if they have had previous experience in a similar role. If they can show how they have aided a previous business transformation, it will be a bonus.

Aside from an understanding of the technological world, the person will need other skills. For one thing, they will need to have a clear and concise management style. When they begin working with your business, they will have to take control of an entire team. That is to say that they will need to have excellent people skills. If they lack this characteristic, they will struggle when it comes to management. You should ensure that they understand the terms of the role. They are not just an expert in technology; they are a leader as well.

Their people skills should stretch further than their team. Much of the time, these people have to communicate with stakeholders and managers. It is important that the individual can express themselves in a clear way. They should have the ability to simplify even the most complicated of projects. When they meet with stakeholders, they should keep things as straightforward as possible. When you find someone with this unique set of skills, they might be the right person to lead your company.

What do they do?

The ideal candidate will have to carry the company through a difficult time. They will need to guide the team through the various processes. Of course, these stages come after the initial part of the job. When you first hire a programme director, they will need to critique the business as best they can. After a period of critical analysis, they can start the strategic planning process.

During their time at the firm, the programme director takes on the role of technology lead. That means that they head up the department and take charge of the permanent staff there. They will work hand in hand with the IT director and, of course, the CIO. The core idea is that the programme director can lead the group into new areas of technology.

The programme director will also have some control over the budget of each project. For example, they will have some minor cost optimisation duties. Throughout the course of their employment, they will have just one primary goal. They will need to transform the company for the better. Of course, this process will involve working closely with the management team. Only then, can they be sure that they will get the best results. When it comes to hiring a person for this particular role, you need to ensure that they have the right talents.

Great questions to ask a Programme Director

What is the most important job you have to do?

This question will help you identify whether the candidate understands the role. As programme director, they will have many tasks. You need to see that they know about the role at hand. If they don't have an in-depth understanding of the job, they are not the ideal candidate for you. You should not help them during this process. Allow them to talk about what they think the role is and what it includes.

Can you manage up?

Managing up is a crucial part of any role, especially that of a programme director. As we have already mentioned, this person will need to communicate with stakeholders. You need to ensure that they have the skills to do so. When you ask them this direct question, it will give the candidate a chance to reflect. From their answer, you should see whether they have what it takes to survive. Are they the right person for the job? If they don't understand the expression 'manage up,' you can explain it. Don't give them too much guidance, though, as they should tell you how they think it should work.

What is your understanding of the company?

Remember, you're hiring someone who will have a lot of responsibility. They will need to take your business into a new era. Hence, it is vital that they know about your company already. Before the interview, they should have prepped for this question. If they have not done so, it shows you that they would not dedicate themselves to the role.

What attracts you to this position / our company?

You need to know whether this person wants to work with you. Of course, when people need work, they apply to almost every role out there. You don't want a candidate who just wants a paycheck. You need someone who has a real passion for business development.

Give us an example of a time you solved a problem

It may surprise you to learn that the role of programme director is creative. If you want to get the right person for the job, you need to ensure that they have the ability to excel in the role. There will be times when they need to solve issues as they arise. They will need to be creative in their methods. When the person describes a problem they've solved, you can critique their technique. Did they just do what they needed to do? Or, did they rise to the challenge and address the problem in the best possible way?

What do you think is your greatest skill?

This question is a tricky one to answer, which is why you have to ask about it. Most people don't like talking about themselves and they don't want to appear arrogant. You need to know how this candidate sees themselves. That is what you hope to get from their answer. When you ask this question, you force the person to have a moment of self-reflection. Their answer will tell you a whole lot about the individual and how they value themselves.

References from other projects

Remember, this candidate should have a pristine track record when they come to you. You don't want someone who is new to the business. Instead, you need someone who has learned from their past experiences. You will, of course, need to ask for references before you hire this person. That way, you will know whether they have an in-depth history in the technology business.

Once you have the referees, you should contact them sooner rather than later. You will need to ask them some taxing questions about the candidate. Ask for particular examples of their work. That way, you will get an excellent idea of how the individual works. You should ask about the person's management style and people skills. Each referee will give you an honest account of these things. With this information, you can start to piece together all you need to know.

Benefits of a contract Programme Director over a permanent hire

So, what should you hire a contract programme manager? Well, the truth is that you will only need this person for a short period. The point of this person is that they bring a fresh perspective to your company. If you hire them on a permanent contract, they will become a cog in the machine. You don't want that at all.

As we said before, one of the hardest things about business transformation is your staff. You will need to get them on board. If they cling to the past, you need to show them that things have to change. When you bring in a temporary member of staff, it sends a message to the team. They will know that this is a transitory period. With the help of this new leader, they can start to adapt to their new roles.


If you're considering a business transformation project, hiring someone external may be an option you have to take. When you get a programme director on board, you will find that they take charge of the situation. Ensure that you look for the best possible candidate. Only then, will you have an excellent chance of success.


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Charlie Knight

Written by Charlie Knight

Charlie has 3 years experience in digital marketing, helping B2B technology companies grow their businesses through inbound marketing before joining Vine Resources as Content Marketing Manager. In his spare time, Charlie enjoys travelling and the great outdoors, and he recently hiked from Mexico to Canada for charity.