In the past couple of weeks, I have met many friends who have thought or wanted to move to Program Management (from a different role). This thought has always brought a shine in my eye and awakened my passion of why I moved to Program Management. In my previous life, I was a developer, a tester and when I attended the Dale Carnegie class, I realized how much I loved interacting with people, looking at the big picture, understanding and resolving their issues. I loved being in the forefront with customers and my technical experience gave me a better understanding of both sides of the coin. That is when I decided to make the change to Program Management.

I started playing the role of Program Manager to make sure I really understood and enjoyed this new passion of mine. Being pregnant in my last trimester with my first baby and the hassle of my green card made it challenging for me to make the change immediately. When my son, Shivam was about 3 weeks old I started my preparation for the Program Manager role. It took a couple of weeks for me to feel comfortable with it and once I was back to office post-pregnancy, I started informationals to interviews as a Program Manager.

When I look back at the past 7 years and the interviews and informational that I have gone through, I realize the major skill sets that people are looking at can be classified into the following buckets:

  1. Design: What is your approach to design? (hardware, software or a vision)
  2. Project management: How well do you understand the project management and processes needed for delivering a project? Are you flexible to adopt to the company/team’s requirement?
  3. Communication: How good are you written and oral communication skills?
  4. Problem Solving/Troubleshooting: Can you handle problem solving, ambiguity and troubleshooting?

I will discuss each of these in future posts.

These high level skills can be broken to many smaller buckets. In general if you are good at 3 out of the 4 above skills (or can build expertise), you might be a good match to be a Program Manager. Think through in detail or with a friend on why you want to become a Program Manager? Is there a Program Manager mentor or friend that you look up at? Do you love the job of a Program Manager? Do you want to get diverse experience?

Let me know if you want to be a Program Manager and what entices you to be one.

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