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Job Title:
Program Manager, IS-340-13; $110,798 - $144,034 per year
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-Federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION:   This position is open to all qualified candidates.


Note:   First consideration may be made 14 days of the opening of this vacancy.

INTRODUCTION:  The Center for Astrophysics/Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) is a joint institution connecting the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) and the Harvard College Observatory (HCO). The CfA is a diverse astrophysical institution at which more than 800 scientists are engaged in a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, and earth and space sciences. 

The Program Manager (PM) position supports projects within the Giant Magellan Telescope Program Office (GMT-PO), which is responsible for a large portfolio of ground- and space-based instrumentation projects. The PM will provide a broad mix of advanced project, business, and technical management expertise to the development of astronomical instrumentation through all phases of an instrument project lifecycle, from concept definition through commissioning.  The work of the position requires close coordination with multiple internal and external stakeholders, including senior management, scientists, engineers, technical and administrative staff, as well as staff at all levels of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO), and national and international collaborating organizations and industrial contractors.  The PM will work with the SAO-GMT instruments project and financial teams to identify, aggregate, and analyze cost, schedule, and technical information to facilitate management of the projects.

PURPOSE OF THE POSITION: The purpose of the position is to provide program direction and technical leadership to the development of novel ground-based scientific instruments for astronomical and astrophysical data collection, in particular to SAO’s instrumentation projects for the next generation Giant Magellan Telescope, but also to the development of new or upgraded instruments for existing telescopes. 


1. Facilitates the day to day running of assigned GMT projects as follows: Works with Project Scientists and Project Engineers to provide direction to project staff to ensure tasks, procurements, and actions are progressing as planned. Maintains and tracks action and risk registers. Works with project staff and subcontractors to update and status the project schedule. Organizes and runs project meetings and manages preparations for milestone reviews. Acts as the point of contact and manager of contracts with industry subcontractors. Schedules and runs progress meetings with industry subcontractors of major assemblies as needed. Coordinates with SAO administrative and management staff to ensure GMT projects are effectively supported.

2. Develops multi-year budgets, including expenditures and labor cost projections, and provides budgets, projections and other data for review as required.

3. Manages short and long-range planning activities, initiates a comprehensive evaluation system for review and analysis of proposed costs, project development and performance.

4. Oversees and authorizes contract purchase requisitions and ensures that all expenditures are allocated to appropriate fund categories; tracks expenditures versus plan and analyzes and reports variances; oversees preparation of monthly and quarterly reports such as NASA 533 submissions.

5. As Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) serves as the SAO/project representative in the management of subcontractors. Works with subcontractors and SAO contracts management staff to ensure subcontracts are being executed on schedule, invoices are being submitted in a timely manner, and subcontractors are paid expeditiously.

6. Provides oversight and coordination of Earned Value Management (EVM) activities, including supporting EVM specialists, assembling data, and preparing variance analyses of EVM-related reports.

7. Develops and implements a product release plan, managing change control for the project deliverables.

8. Gives presentation or briefings on all aspects of the project.

9. Participates in regular information sessions to plan, maintain productive interaction with staff and senior PM to ensure that technical progress is aligned with project budget and schedule.

10. Performs other related duties as required.


1 year of specialized experience equivalent to the grade 12 level that should demonstrate the experience and the ability to do the work of this position.  Such experience would include: professional experience and skill in creating funding proposals, including researching costs, planning expense and labor profiles and coordinating proposal production and submission; knowledge management and organizational principles and practices along with comprehensive knowledge of planning, programming and budgeting regulations, guidelines and process; thorough knowledge of and experience in applying strategies, techniques and process used to plan, develop and control project schedule and track project milestones, activities, and deliverables; experience in managing project resources, including monitoring and inspecting costs, work, and contractor performance utilizing Smartsheet, MS Project, and/or other tools; Experience in leading and managing a team for maximum effectiveness, providing direction to and mentoring support staff and resolving conflicts; experience in formulating, monitoring and analyzing detailed, complex, multi-year budgets for large programs, projecting expenditures and labor profiles for futures years, adapting budgets to changes in funding, and generating reports. 

Required Documents:  In order to receive consideration applicants must submit all of the following:

  • Resume/CV
  • Cover letter
  • Statement of experience and vision for the role    


Application Procedures:  We are only accepting applications online for this position. To apply, please visit

Conditions of Employment: 

  • Successful completion of a pre-employment background investigation.                                                                   
  • A one-year probationary period is required.         
  • Incumbent will be required to file a Confidential Statement of Employment and Financial Interests.


The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.

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