Planning for the new Job

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:

  1. The new team,
  2. The new culture,
  3. New systems and processes (or the lack of)
  4. The customers
  5. Projects and work loads
  6. 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.


1 thought on “Planning for the new Job”

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    Great plan. While you are at it, don’t forget to get your hands dirty and help a stuck team get moving again. It would be good, while you are getting up to speed and getting to know everyone, to actually do something useful 😉 Plus, it would leave a great first impression and let everyone know you are truly there to help.

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