Which Program Team Are You Managing?

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Summary:

Some program managers whose organizations are transitioning to agile are not always clear on which program team they are managing. Sometimes, that’s because the organization doesn’t always realize they need more than one program team.

Some program managers whose organizations are transitioning to agile are not always clear on which program team they are managing. Sometimes, that’s because the organization doesn’t always realize they need more than one program team.

1

Core Program Team

If you are coordinating and collaborating across the entire organization, you are part of the core program team. If you take a look at the Core Program Team image on the left, you can see that there are plenty of potential participants on this program team. Aside from the program manager, there is the software program manager, the potential hardware program manager, the Program Product Owner, the Sales, Deployment, Legal, Marketing, Finance, HR, Investor Relations project managers. And those are only the people I could imagine. There might be other or different people in your organization.

Notice that the Software program manager is a delegate to the core program team. That means that the Software program manager must have a program team of his/her own. Yes. That is true for a sufficiently large program.

Below is what that technical Software program team looks like. Notice that the Program Product Owner and the Program Architect work as a triad with the Software Program Manager to make risk decisions. Does that mean that the Program Product Owner does not work with the Core Program Manager?

2

Software Program Team

It depends. It depends on who needs the Program Product owner. Maybe you need a product owner team, and the program product owner works with the core team and the technical product owner works with the software program owner. It depends on what your program needs.

Look at the program architect. Your project teams might need their own architects on their teams. Sally’s project–which might be a Scrum-of-Scrums, and if it gets bigger, might be its own program–likely needs its own architect. That architect better talk to the program architect. And if there’s a aardware architect, that architect better talk to the program architect. So you might need a cross-functional architecture team that I don’t have a picture of, right now.

So, if you are a program manager, first, are you on the across-the-organization program team, the core team? If so, do you have everyone you need? Does that team have responsibility for deployment? (I don’t care who has responsibility for deployment, as long as someone does.)

If you are not on the core team, are you on the technical team that works across the technology? Does this team have responsibility for deployment? I’m being a little touchy about deployment because I have consulted to programs where no one was responsible for deployment and they only discovered it when I asked, “Who’s responsible for deployment?” I thought I was being stupid because I didn’t see it. No, no one had thought about it. Oops.

About the author

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman

Johanna Rothman, known as the “Pragmatic Manager,” helps organizational leaders see problems and risks in their product development. She helps them recognize potential “gotchas,” seize opportunities, and remove impediments. Johanna was the Agile 2009 conference chair. She is the technical editor for Agile Connection and the author of these books:

  • Manage Your Job Search
  • Hiring Geeks That Fit
  • Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects
  • The 2008 Jolt Productivity award-winning Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management
  • Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management
  • Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets and Science of Hiring Technical People

Johanna is working on a book about agile program management. She writes columns for Stickyminds.com and projectmanagementcom and blogs on her website, jrothman.com, as well on createadaptablelife.com.

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