17 Ways to Become a Great Program Manager


I recently read a great book by Sergio Pellegrinelli – Thinking and Acting as a Great Programme Manager [2008].

Below a summary of how a great program manager should behave; for more details I suggest you read his book!

I also suggest 4 other books that can definitively increase your world (and business) awareness and help you toward a more effective mindset:

Program management competence framework

Relationship between self and work

Granularity of focus Broad view of plan, including understanding of wider impact within the organization; (occasional proactive involvement in detail to experience customers’ perspective); strong orientation towards the future, including awareness of organization-wide and external impacts/benefits
Emotional attachment Professional commitment to delivery of organization-wide and external outcomes
Disposition for action Opportunistic; intuitive ability to reshape, reconfigure and realign
Approach to role plurality Deliberately takes on multiple conflicting roles to integrate divergent interests

Relationship between self and others

Engagement with team Seeks to inspire; charismatic and credible; able to get people to modify their natural behavior
Approach to conflict and divergence Uses subtle facilitation to encourage creative and value-adding solution
Development and support Coaches in context to enable understanding and influence
Purpose of enquiry Own clarification; challenge others; encourage creative thinking; redefine problem or reframe purpose
Expectations of others Extends individuals’ talents, but now burn out

Relationship between self and environment

Adaptive intent Adapts environment to suit organizational purpose
Awareness of organizational constraints Aware of capacity, technical, and cultural constraints; facilitates development and knowledge transfer from outside
Approach to risk Is ready for failure; anticipates wider consequences
Approach to communications Provides analysis and opinions (consistent style); sells vision of outcome (style more sensitive to audience); cultural and audience sensitivity
Approach to governance Seeks to embed program in organizational management structures/processes
Attitude to scope Shaped to meet emerging and changing business needs
Attitude to time Schedule driven based on defined scope; reschedule when necessary; anticipates and plans for possible work, recognizes mobilization time; takes into account the rate at which change can be absorbed or accommodated; conscious of issues of timeliness and maturity
Attitude to funding Creates funding from achievement – self-financing
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