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Ed. 008 Presence Make the Best Program Managers
Your name should pop up regularly in meetings as the person to turn to for problem-solving and unblocking
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Did you expect anything else? Turns out that excellent project management skills and uncanny technical depth aren’t as effective if your leadership skills aren’t up to par.
Why does this matter? Technical, project, and program management skills can be learned, but your presence and rapport must be earned. You might have the skill to quickly break down WBS’s and design solution architectures, but they’ll be hampered by a lack of leadership and influence.
It’s easy enough to tell your colleagues what’s wrong but much more compelling and powerful to “show” them.
Why does this matter? Your primary goal as a PgM is to drive progress. That involves communicating and selling your ideas for change. Depending on the size of your organization, communication dynamics, and work culture will differ and may hinder your execution of ideas and tasks. Ensure you show your ideas to reduce this friction, increase comprehension from your colleagues, and create compelling arguments for your decisions.
An interesting approach to managing portfolios. The purview and scope may be above the average program manager in a technology company.
Why does this matter? As a PgM progresses through their career and their purview grows, it’s good to establish the perspective of some of the portfolio and program management workflows.
Getting stuff done and driving progress is your primary function as a PgM. Interestingly, this typically isn’t done from your own personal execution, but through the execution and action of others.
Why does this matter? Program Managers work through influence. One of the fastest ways to build influence and rapport is through the humble 1-on-1. They take practice and can easily diverge off-topic. Be prepared with a list of questions and action items. Approach the conversation with empathy and put on your detective hat; many opportunistic problems are discovered this way.
Perpetual video calls abstract and diminishes the effect of one of the most important skills as a program manager.
Why does this matter? Program Managers progress through their relationships and rapport. In these extraordinary times and as the workplace continues its transition to digital, some of the familiar techniques of rapport-building like watercooler talk or morning coffee aren’t possible anymore.
Looking for a new role? We’ve curated a few PgM, TPM, and Prod Ops roles that may interest you.
We’ve added a few new assets recently. Take a look and feel free to suggest additional resources in the comments.
Do you need a structured methodology to get you through the interview process? We’ve recently updated our own Unblockers Interview Course with more content.
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