Ed. 016 The Best Program Managers are Storytellers
You won't convince anyone of anything unless you tell them a compelling story as to why.
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Back in my startup days, the direction for the company was to always get to the next round of funding. In order to do so, we had to sell—and sell we did. Throwing numbers, metrics, and graphs at customers was useful to an extent. However, the real kicker was telling stories.
Why does this matter? In larger orgs and companies, storytelling is still as important as ever. I’d argue it’s more important because it’s much harder to move the needle in larger companies. To get stuff done and move the needle, you can appeal to peoples’ emotions through the use of storytelling.
Engineers have to regularly make decisions regarding availability or consistency. It’s mostly straightforward to understand and a great conversation topic when engaging technical folks.
Why does this matter? Engineers make tradeoffs. You encounter this every day. Notice how your local ATM machine would rather be out of order rather than take a guess at how much money is in your checking account?
The ideal situation? It never happens to you. But just in case, this story of an individual contributor’s own experiences may prove useful—just for perspective.
Why does this matter? I pray you never have to work with a bad developer, but if you do, make sure to CYA, set expectations early for quality and outcome, and overcommunicate to leadership.
It’s no secret that companies study their employees. They know exactly the kinds of trends that determine success. Google has determined that the “ability to take initiative“ is a far better predictor of high performance than good grades. I’m suddenly proud of my 2.9 undergrad GPA.
Why does this matter? Companies are competing for talent. From a selfish and career development standpoint, understand exactly how they gauge and measure performance. Then use these parameters to optimize your career goals within the company.
As companies trend toward an emphasis on innovation over scale and operationalization, Agile will continue to be a valuable skill to learn and implement. This individual’s story is an interesting one as he romanticized the role of a project manager but was unhappy with the results of traditional project management.
Why does this matter? You’re a new-age program manager. You focus on driving progress quickly and sidestepping political red tape and heavy due diligence. Whether you realize it or not, you’re likely using an Agile-esque approach.
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