In my last blog I mentioned that I recently received a job offer at a new company. This started me thinking about what is my plan for getting started at the new job, so today I figured I’d share my thoughts and maybe it will help you or maybe you’ll have some feedback for me.
The job is a Manager of Program Management leading a small team of PMs and performing program management as well. The team supports a Business Unit (BU) but is not part of the BU, rather it reports to the VP of a parallel organization and both organizations report into a Senior GM. The GM of the BU that my team will support is looking for me to become a business partner and drive program management to a point where we not only enable them to deliver on their products but can also be a strategic partner. Overall, it is a very interesting position and I can’t wait to get started.
The Plan: I can’t say that I have a fully baked plan so this will be more of a rough outline. My previous job was Director of Program Management for a much smaller company, so I’ve done all of this before but I need to avoid the trap of believing that what I did at my last job will work at my new one. I plan to draw on my experience for sure but I need to consider:
- The new team,
- The new culture,
- New systems and processes (or the lack of)
- The customers
- Projects and work loads
- Definitions of Success
It’s a lot to get one’s mind around so I need to break it down to achievable milestones; I have elected to do this on a time based set of milestones as follows:
1) Week 1:
- Get to know the team
- There perspective on the company, programs, challenges, etc.
- Understand their processes (top level)
- Identify the customers and set up initial discussions
- Understand the current projects: Schedules, challenges, risks, etc.
2) Month 1:
- Develop relationships with the team
- Develop relationships with the customers
- Continue discussions with the team and customers and define short term success criteria
- Assess the culture
- Assess my strengths and weaknesses vs. the culture
- Assess the teams strengths and weaknesses vs. the culture and organizational needs
- Review the PM processes
- Start to manage some of the programs (Yes I believe that in order to lead a team I need to do their job in order to better understand how the job is done and what needs to be improved)
- Define the reporting methodology
3) Month 2
- Cultivate the relationships that were started in month 1
- Assess strengths and weaknesses of the team vs. needs of the organization
- Define a plan to balance the strengths of the team (including me) against the needs of the organization
- Define improvement plans for selected areas
4) Month 3
- Execute on initial improvement plans from month 2
- Continue to cultivate the relationships
- Outline a plan for the next 3 to 9 months
Summary: We’ve all heard the expression “You only get one chance to make a first impression”. This is as true in business as it is in your personal life so it is critical to start off on a positive note. Of course, as a program manager that means I need to have a plan but I can’t be married to it. I figure the best way to determine the path forward is to assess myself, my team, our customers, current capabilities, immediate and future needs and the culture. I will lean heavily on the experts that are already there to ensure that I am dealing with facts as opposed to my own impressions. Of course this all needs to be done in a time frame that works for the team and organization, so like most plans mine is subject to change.