Making the leap from project manager to program
manager requires not just different skills but a differ-
ent mindset. We asked seven experienced program
managers, “What should project managers
know and do when taking on broader, more
Be proactive, not reactive.
“As a program manager, I have learned to become more proactive in resolving
con;ict rather than reacting to crisis. I think in terms of escalation rather than
reporting. Reporting only conveys the status of an issue; there’s no obligation
from the receivers to take action. Escalation gets the leadership team involved
in solving the problem. From my experience, escalation can be considered complaining, so in the kicko; meeting for any project, I try to de;ne when issues will
be escalated and to whom.
In moving toward a more proactive role, I tend to think less about teams and
more about broader issues of governance. When I talk about governance, I’m
thinking of ways to help all of the stakeholders, functional teams and delivery
teams align with the strategic objectives of the programs. Governance brings
ownership and accountability. In turn, the respective teams start considering
what needs to be done to reach their best performance.”
—Sethunarayanan Thiru, PMP, is the lead program manager for the field products line of
business at Honeywell Technology Solutions Lab in Bengaluru, India.