Syed Mansoor Ali ‘ s Blog !

  • Categories

  • Archives

PM at Microsoft (by Steven Sinofsky)

Posted by manxp on January 2, 2007

A very good post by Steven Sinofsky who sharing his experiences at
Microsoft as a PM and an SDE and explian PM in the context of the relationships with the others that contribute to building products



Posted in Program Management | Leave a Comment »

What is a Microsoft Program Manager? :-)

Posted by manxp on January 1, 2007

A picture is worth 1000 words:

The arrows indicate what you have to worry about:

1) Customers should not have to worry about anything. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they are right. A PM just might have to make a code change to get a fix to a customer ASAP.

2) Dev, Test, and Doc only have to worry about the current release, and only about their bit of that release. They also have to be focused on the specific technologies they need to do their jobs. That is why a PM should not touch code: we don’t necessarily know how it is all put together. Of course, the good Dev, Test, and Doc people know what customers want, what is coming down the road, etc. and the good PM does know how everything is put together.

3) The PM has to worry about the Dev, Test and Doc teams. This includes making sure that communication is flowing, that we are all working toward the same goals, etc. The PM has to make sure the product is what the customer wants and needs. The PM has to make sure that the project plans for the next releases are being developed, and that the next releases will address the customer issues that just can’t be addressed it the current release. And the PM has to worry about everything else.

I’ve also included the lines indicating who reports to the PM. That’s right, nobody does. We are on our own. What we get out of Dev, Test, and Doc is what they want to do. We have to convince them that they want to do what we think is needed.

I’m not tyring to be too serious here. This is an interesting description of what it sometimes feels like to be a PM at Microsoft and it does give you an idea of the various responsiblities involved. However, in the end, it is all about team effort.

Posted in Program Management | Leave a Comment »

Program Management :: Pratice Areas

Posted by manxp on January 1, 2007


Posted in Program Management | Leave a Comment »

Wiley::PgMP: Program Management Professional Study Guide

Posted by manxp on January 1, 2007

This book wil be useful for both those new to program management, as well as individuals with years of experience. The primary purpose of the book is to help the reader pass the PgMP exam, but it will also serve as a good reference after the exam. This book will be a concise, yet comprehensive study aid for the upcoming Program Management Professional (PgMP) certification administered by PMI. The book will be based on the PgMP body of knowledge. Readers will benefit from the detailed discussion of the wide-range of PgMP topics, concepts, and key terms and will present the material in a logical manner: each section builds upon previous sections and a chapter on previous chapters.

Posted in Program Management | Leave a Comment »

The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun

Posted by manxp on January 1, 2007

In Scott Berkun‘s bestselling book, the Art of Project Management (O’Reilly, 2005), you’ll learn from a former Microsoft team leader how to plan, manage and lead projects. This fun and entertaining account of hard lessons learned over a decade of work in the software industry can help you in your current work, and on future projects to come. Written for software developers and anyone leading teams or projects.

Posted in Project Management | Leave a Comment »

PMI Program Management Certification

Posted by manxp on January 1, 2007

In a quiet summer the PM world is buzzing with news of a new PMI certification. Moving beyond the territory of the PMP (Project Management Professional) the Program Management certification would be for those who are leading programs. The role of which is defined as:

  • Program managers are responsible and accountable for the coordinated management of multiple related projects directed toward strategic business and other organizational objectives. These programs contain complex activities that may span functions, organizations, geographic regions, and cultures. Program managers build credibility, establish rapport, and maintain communication with stakeholders at multiple levels, including those external to the organization.
  • Program managers define and initiate projects, and assign Project Managers to manage cost, schedule, and performance of component projects, while working to ensure the ultimate success and acceptance of the program. Program managers maintain continuous alignment of program scope with strategic business objectives, and make recommendations to modify the program to enhance effectiveness toward the business results or strategic intent. Program managers are responsible for determining and coordinating the sharing of resources among their constituent projects to the overall benefit of the program.
  • Program managers possess the knowledge and skills needed to be effective in both the project and business or government environments, and to make decisions that accomplish strategic objectives. In addition, the program manager should have advanced skills in finance, cross-cultural awareness, leadership, communication, influence, negotiation, and conflict resolution.

The certification process would be fairly similar to the current PMP process with an initial experience and education assessment and a multiple guess test. But the new twist is the third step:

“The third competence assessment occurs through a multi-rater assessment in which a team of raters that the candidate selects will be evaluating their competence in a work environment to perform germane tasks of a program manager as defined through the examination specification.”

OK PMI, now I’m even more confused. I can vaguely see the value of the PMP certification. It attests to a basic amount of training and experience. The CAPM is sort of like a spelling test. Both are targetted at job seekers it seems to me, and may have some attraction as a sort of outsourced Project Management skills assessment for organizations which are incapable of determining the relative skills of their own employees. I can see some value in that. But this new cert seems to be targetted at fairly high level people. If we make the very crude analogy that the PMP certification is the equivalent of other professional licensing such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or passing the Bar examination for lawyers, or professional registration as an Architect or Engineer, then what is the equivalent of the new Program Manager cert? It would be something like being promoted to partner or some other sort of job title.

In the professional organizations I’m familiar with, that sort of promotion is based on performance and experience, not on passing an examination. Program management is not just something that you come in at entry level and do. I’d be worried to work in an organization where program managers are selected based on whether they have or do not have this credential. It would mean that their means for evaluating competence are broken.

But with all of these sorts of things, the market sees things slightly different than I do, and they value the present certifications more highly than I do, so just watch this one take off. And of course watch as PMP’s start to scramble to get a few more initials printed on their business cards, and PMI pulls in another $1000 a piece and the Rita Mulcahy’s of the world buy a cheetah skin stole.

Posted in Program Management | 1 Comment »