In my previous article about what a PM does I talked about contracts. While I didn't mean contracts in the literal sense of a legally binding document the best PM groups I've worked with do produce a specific set of documents which serve to record what has been agreed to, track status and help to identify and resolve problems. Below I walk through those documents and what their purpose is.
Asking what a program manager (PM) does in the software industry is a bit of a trick question because so many different and only tangentially related positions are called PM. So I can't provide a universal answer but I can explain what the PM groups I have worked with over the years have done/do. The short answer is that we are the conduit between the core Development team (e.g. Development/Test/PM) and the rest of the known universe. Our job is to bring data from the outside world in, bring the core Development team's ideas out to the world, negotiate a "contract" between the two as to who is to do what/when and then be held personally responsible for making sure everyone honors the "contract".
After looking at the various options available in 529 plans from stock mutual funds to bond mutual funds to age appropriate funds and so on the choice for us came down to TIPS mutual funds or CollegeSure CDs. We have decided to use CollegeSure CDs to save for our daughter's education. Yes, they have a horrible return and are quite possibly not FDIC insured (read the fine print) but of all the options this is the one that seems most reasonable.