Symphony Program Manager

Location:                                            One of the MSF offices

Contract:                                Long-term contract /            Full-time position

Starting date:                        As soon as possible

Deadline for application:     28 April 2019

Starting date:                                  ASAP

Reporting to:                         Symphony Program Board


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural disasters. MSF offers assistance to people based only on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

MSF International is the legal entity that binds MSF’s 21 sections, 24 associations and other offices together (the Movement). Based in Geneva, MSF International provides coordination, information and support to the MSF Movement, as well as implements international projects and initiatives as requested. MSF International also provides administrative support to the MSF Access Campaign.


MSF is in the process of rolling out a global HRIS platform, built on SAP and called Symphony, across all MSF recruitment offices and its five Operational Centres. Most of the platform has been designed. Symphony has been successfully implemented in two recruitment offices. Work is under way for implementing the platform in more recruitment offices and a pilot roll-out in one Operational Centre. An industrialised roll-out will be prepared for all other MSF offices, for implementation in 2020.

The Program Manager leads a team of 30 to 40 professionals, based in various locations. In addition to providing inspirational leadership to this team, the Symphony Program Manager will be overseeing:

  • The finalization of the global template (streamlining essential definitions and processes between the various MSF offices) and ensuring the preparation of future releases
  • The roll-out of the platform in various MSF sections and one Operational Centre in 2019
  • The preparation and implementation of the industrialised deployment of the tool in the remaining sections in 2020
  • The definition of post go-live support structures and processes

The Program Manager will have overall responsibility for the achievement of the deliverables within the timeframe and budget and with quality, according to the project objectives. This is a challenging position within a stimulating environment in a major international organization.


The Program Manager reports to the chair of the Symphony Program Board. The Program Board is the final decisional level for the project.

The Program Manager has a privileged link with the International HR coordinator to coordinate closely with IDHR (International Directors of Human Resources) platform in reference to the functional requirements of the project, including process and data governance. S/He also has a specific link with the ISM (International Platform for IT systems management) to ensure that the project and implemented solution fit into the IT strategy and architecture of the MSF movement.


The main tasks and responsibilities of the function are:

  • Define and manage the global project:
    • Design, realization/implementation and the roll out of the HRIS in the different sections.
    • Ensuring that program deliverables and outcomes are implemented on-time, on-budget, on-quality (project plan, organization, product and project strategies e.g. processes, configuration, development, implementation, maintenance, support.
    • Coordinate the global Symphony plan with the local offices plans for implementation.
    • Ensure focus on the project scope and phasing, escalating decisions to the Program Board as needed.
    • Establish and monitor compliance with MSF standards or practices for documentation, data, training, IT strategy, governance and architecture
  • Lead the Symphony team, combining clarity on priorities and deliverables.
  • Ensure appropriate reporting transparently according to the project governance.
    • Facilitate executive decision making by the Program Board by: Progress reporting, Issue management, risk management, and reporting process for the project
    • Define the project quality principles and support the Board in the definition of the project KPIs
  • Oversee overall communication and reporting plan with stakeholders and end users; supporting change management activities in each entity participating in the project and the management of expectations of stakeholders
  • Ensure and promote the liaison and coordination with other projects in MSF, when relevant for the project scope and MSF needs             

We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate who has solid experience in leading and managing complex projects in an international setting. You will have at least five years’ experience in comparable roles. You will be required to have a good understanding and experience of HR transformation and process integration. Solid understanding of HRIS platforms would give the ideal candidate a crucial head-start. You will have strong communication and stakeholder management skills as well as a service-oriented attitude along with very positive and open people management. Functioning in an international environment, an excellent command of English and an ability to travel are essential (50%).

Competences required:

  • Proven leadership track record, balancing clarity on deliverables with the ability to make people shine in their field of responsibility, giving each team member high-level autonomy for their specific responsibilities
  • Excellent communication, presentation and diplomacy skills
  • Ability to understand the needs and constraints of operations and to navigate in a decentralized governance environment
  • Ability to adapt to changing circumstances, contexts, tasks, responsibilities and people.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to combine a keen eye for detail with keeping a high-level overview
  • Service oriented
  • Result Oriented

Experience required:

  • At least five years’ experience as a Program Manager in complex international environments
  • Experience in leading a mid-size and (ideally distributed/remote) project team
  • Proven negotiation skills
  • Good understanding of Human Resources processes and process design
  • Professional experience in an international non-profit organisation will be an asset
  • Proven understanding of complex ERP implementations in an international environment, with focus on HR
  • Fluency in English, written and spoken (other languages are highly valued, and particularly French and Spanish)

Apply here

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted

MSF is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.

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