Top 7 Lessons Learned From My Last Program Management Role
By Eric Veal
I’m moving onto my next career adventure on an adjacent team to my current one. We got re-organized and I had to bounce to the next opportunity. I’m sad leaving but learned a lot here, made a lot of great new relationships, had fun, and delivered! Overall, it was a really great experience. Here’s the main stuff I learned during this time.
- Have your project really well planned and make sure all of the resources are there to deliver it. This was one of the major benefits of my main AutoRenewal project: that the team was there and ready to do the work. We just had to get semi-organized and pretty good things happened overall.
Plan your business intelligence and measurement/control initiatives very well; realize that these are projects / programs unto themselves. This was a miss on my project. This was a workstream that was neither defined nor planned and wound up taking up a lot of time, energy, and resources to get it off the ground. We had to define the product, then build the supply chain and resources to make it happen.
Get organized at the aggregate and with each supplier. Being organized at the aggregate is hard, and being organized to give clear instructions to each supplier / engineering team is also hard. Both functions are critical, though, and this creates the overall process and organizational challenge.
Supplier-level management is probably the key process that matters. In the context of this group, since they have so many suppliers and dependencies, they have to get these people organized and rowing in the same direction. It’s hard work and each one requires a lot of care!
Integration management is super essential to making things happen. Without an “all up” view of workflow and delivery, nothing good will happen. It has to.
Process does not come from thin air; it takes intention, rigor and experience. A lot of teams want process but don’t know how to get it. They’re not organized, they’re not focused enough, they’re too busy. Process management is a leadership exercise that really only comes from experience creating new teams and forming consensus and conformity around a goal and an operation.
Organize the scenarios at the policy/process level rather than at the implementation level; but you do have them go down to the channel level at some point. There’s a lot of data involved in making big things happen at scale. Keep it simple by only managing and communicating the policy, rather than the implementation details. KISS is so critical here, but it requires structure and rigor to do this.
Eric Veal, MS, MBA, PMP is a managing member at Efficitrends, a company specialized in evaluating, improving, and automating business processes. Eric has 15 years of experience planning, selling, building, applying, and supporting commercial and custom IT solutions for Fortune 500 and smaller firms. You can read more from Eric on his blog.
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