Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

It's time

“Should your program managers come from project manager ranks? Five experts discuss the pros & cons.”
The article was published in PM Network Magazine # 2/2012 & I am very glad that I was also involved into the discussion :-)

Related Books

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all

Related Audiobooks

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

It's time

  1. 1. Itstime to name a new program manager. Do you find a candidate among your project manage- ment ranks or look outside your organization? Not every project manager will make an effective program manager—and not all of them even want to go down that career path. Learning to identify those who can trade the tactical work of managing projects for the strategic mindset essential for successful program management will save you the costly mistake of appointing the wrong person. We asked five professionals how to find those project managers within your ranks with the skills, experience and potential to shine as program managers. The panel also has advice about what to look for in outside hires. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PROMOTING A PROJECT MANAGER AT YOUR ORGANIZATION TO A PROGRAM MANAGER ROLE? Eric S. Norman, PMP, PgMP: One of the main benefits is the person typically knows the ins and outs of the organization—the political atmosphere and the technology environ- ment, and is aware of how to work effectively within them. Hemanshu Joshi: The internally recruited program manager knows the organiza- tions influencers and followers and can quickly tread his or her way through the labyrinth, OUR PANEL i Hemanshu Erik Lukac, Eric S. Norman, Pieter Oosthuizen, John L. Warren, vice president Joshi, project operations man- PMP, PgMP, program PhD, PMP, execu- of strategic business solutions and manager, Dubai, ager at Clever- director and senior tive vice president of executive director of the Stanford United Arab lance Enterprise principal at SRA operations and C O O at advanced project management Emirates Solutions, a soft- International Inc., an Thurston Companies, a center of excellence for strategy ware developer IT and strategy con- construction and man- execution at IPS Learning, a proj- in Bratislava, sultancy in Atlanta, agement firm in Wash- ect management training firm in Slovakia Georgia, USA ington, D.C., USA San Mateo, California, USA58 PM NETWORK fEBRUARY 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
  2. 2. because a rapport is already established. This helps when a program must be launchedwithout delay. With a hire from within, internal stakeholders are confident the individual will per-form the task efficiently and deliver results. The stakeholders confidence reduces theurge to constantly monitor the program managers performance, which might be thecase when a program manager is hired from outside the organization. RecruitingWHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL PITFALLS?Mr. Joshi: Those already established relationships might not always be positive. If the From Withinproject manager doesnt have a good rapport with the team, his or her promotion to p l u s : The candidate has an inside knowledge and understanding ofprogram manager would hamper the program more than facilitate it. the inner workings of the organi- In many cases, the person concerned has been with the organization for a long zation—helping to speed up thetime, and the organizations environment affects his or her mindset. Such people might process.not be able to think creatively; they think within the boundaries of the thought process M i N U s : The person could bethey were groomed in. Their confined thinking will harm programs if they are not locked into a limiting mindsettrained, groomed or exposed to new challenges, technologies or practices. about the organizations culture. Erik Lukac: It could be a drawback if the organization does not have clearly defined P L U s : Promoting from within may motivate other employees whoprocesses in place for all areas of program management and is relying exclusively on see that the organization rewardsproject management techniques for the management of complex programs. Or if the performance.senior project manager has no experience in managing inter-project dependencies, it M i N U s : The candidate may havewould be better to hire an external program manager with the requisite experience. a tendency to approach program management as a very largeWHATS A GOOD WAY TO JUDGE IF AN INTERNAL PROJECT project.MANAGER is READY FOR A PROGRAM MANAGEMENT ROLE?Mr. Joshi: I recommend that the project manager have been responsible for delivering Look For: nmultiple large projects that have diverse team sizes, cultures, timelines and technolo- Project managers who thinkgies. The project manager in question should begin the transition under the supervi- big-picture and keep thesion of mentors, but gradually he or she should be allowed to work independently, broader program and goals in mind while working on theirsupported by teams. This initial incubation period will help stakeholders evaluate the individual projects.new program managers performance and decide whether or not the person is ready n Candidates with solid records ofto continue in the position of program manager. achievement over the course of John L. Warren: Look at your messiest, most challenging projects and find the their careers. nproject managers or technical leads who excelled in working through the challenges Those who know how toto successful conclusions. You want to find people who keep their cool in a crisis. effectively delegate tasks and dont get mired in minutiae. Mr. Norman: A good indicator is if a project manager has demonstrated com-petence at producing consistent results at the individual level and is able to interactwith leaders at all levels of an organization—including senior executives and boardmembers. Effective communication with all levels of an organization is an importantelement of a program managers role.w h a t s t h e best w a y t o g r o o m these c a n d i d a t e s ?Mr. Norman: Find opportunities for them to take part in larger, strategically impor-tant initiatives. Also, clarify the project managers vision as to where the program isgoing, and ensure that the person is aware of the connectivity between the programs fEBRUARY 2012 PM NETWORK 59
  3. 3. components as well as the programs importance and alignment with the organiza- tions strategic objectives. For example, public health programs include a variety of diverse projects. The individual project managers may not be fully aware of the relationships of their efforts to the larger programs. Project managers leading a marketing or data- collection project in one area may not know the details of the overall effort. How a project manager seeks out, learns about and participates within the larger context demonstrates his or her desire and underlying capability for transition to the role of program manager. WHAT ARE SOME SIGNALS THAT A PROJECT MANAGER WOULD NOT BE A GOOD FIT FOR A PROGRAM MANAGER POSITION? Pieter Oosthuizen, PhD, PMP: Some individuals have a natural "feel" for managing projects and will always excel. However, not all good project managers have the abil- ity to manage at a higher level. Those who are willing to step up and succeed outside traditional boundaries are your best program manager candidates. Project managers wont make good program managers if they get bogged down in details, are unable to resolve conflicts and have poor people skills. A project manager will focus on the specific project—its scope, goals, resources and comple- tion—while a program manager has to focus on several projects in the same pro- gram, all related to achieving a greater goal. Harmonizing several projects is much RECRUIT Y O U R NEXT PROGRAM more difficult than managing an individual project. MANAGER INTERNALLY Take the global fight against AIDS. A project manager in an African country is "Internal totally focused on achieving that countrys set goals, whereas a program manager promotions can working for the World Health Organization has to manage limited resources for 30 prove to be a win-win for both countries and still ensure the overall goals are achieved. the employee and the organization." A red flag in this scenario is if your project manager spends an inordinate amount of time on one aspect, such as providing AIDS medicine to the last vial, Head to PMIs Career Central to rather than on achieving overall patient-treatment goals. Yes, it is good to manage read more. the details—but not at the expense of the larger programs success. DO YOU HAVE ANY SUCCESS STORIES OF GROOMING INTERNAL PROJECT MANAGERS INTO PROGRAM MANAGERS? M r . Lukac: Yes, two, at my previous job as project management office director at the IT company PosAm. At the time of appointment, each was a senior project60 PM NETWORK fEBRUARY 2012 WWW.PMI.ORG
  4. 4. A PROGRAM MANAGER HAS TO FOCUS ONSEVERAL PROJECTS iN THE SAME PROGRAM,ALL RELATED TO ACHiEViNG A GREATERGOAL. HARMONiZiNG SEVERAL PROJECTS iSMUCH MORE DIFFICULT THAN MANAGiNGAN INDIVIDUAL pROjECT.—Pieter Oosthuizen, PhD, PMP, Thurston Companies, Washington, D.C., USAmanager with extensive knowledge of project management resume. Talk directly to the sponsors of those programs—peo-techniques and long-term experience in complex-project ple who saw the candidate in action—and determine exactlymanagement. Both had also obtained external certification how much authority he or she had. Ask candidates to walkat the senior project manager level. A further plus: They through a typical week on a large program they led, describinghad worked for the company for a long time and had risen what they did and where they focused their time.through its ranks, from the developer and analyst level to Mr. N o r m a n : I ask about a particular individuals under-middle management. standing of the difference between project and program They had to extend their knowledge by dealing with management. The answer is often very illuminating. Manyvarious situations related to the management of inter-project project managers perceive programs simply as very largedependencies, enterprise-wide allocation of resources, pro- projects. This is not the case. Program management requirescess optimization and change management at the orga- a number of skills and competencies that are not necessarynizational level. They also had long-term experience in at the project level. Most importantly, program managerscommunicating with internal stakeholders at the executive must be aware of how projects and programs operate andlevel. After approximately one year, they were fully adapted perform together within an organization.to the program manager role. Mr. Norman: I actually came from the project management WHAT IS THE MOST iMpORTANT THING TOranks. My natural inclination was to gravitate toward program L o o k FOR WHEN RECRuiTiNG FOR A pROGRAMmanagement. I successfully made a smooth transition because I MANAGER pOSITION—WHETHER YOuRE HIRINGwas attracted by and interested in making contributions at the FROM WITHIN OR NOT?organizational level, looking at the bigger picture and working Dr. Oosthuizen: You can only go so far in screening can-more closely with senior leadership. didates. The presence of real experience with a solid track record remains the best metric to find a good programWHAT SHOuLD YOU LOOK FOR iN OuTSIDE manager.HIRES? HOW CAN YOu ASSESS THEIR SklLLS? I believe that everyone establishes themselves for the restMr. Warren: For large, complex programs that are new to an of their careers after about 10 years. Achievements, or theorganization, an inside candidate with the requisite skills and lack thereof, indicate how the person will perform in theexperience may not exist. If youre going outside, find a pro- future. A good project manager will very quickly build a solidgram manager who has actually led and shouldered respon- record of achievement, and that is a good starting point insibility for similar types of programs. Do not rely only on a selecting program manager candidates. PM fEBRUARY 2012 PM NETWORK 61

    Be the first to comment

    Login to see the comments

“Should your program managers come from project manager ranks? Five experts discuss the pros & cons.” The article was published in PM Network Magazine # 2/2012 & I am very glad that I was also involved into the discussion :-)

Views

Total views

378

On Slideshare

0

From embeds

0

Number of embeds

2

Actions

Downloads

2

Shares

0

Comments

0

Likes

0

×