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Permalink to this day Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Chris Pratley on my life: Starting out as a Program Manager

About 4 weeks into the job, you start to feel strange. People keep asking you to decide things you donít know anything about, as if youíre some kind of expert. You find yourself going to your peers for help more often than you feel comfortable with. You start to wonder if you can actually do this. You start to tank.
This is my fourth week on the job as a new program manager straight out of university/college.

It's been an interesting first couple weeks. The biggest barrier has been that my manager was extremely busy my first two weeks here and then subsequently got very sick. I didn't see much of her, was given ownership of two areas, given minimal direction, no training (at Microsoft it is all trial by fire) and I guess I'm expected to produce something. So I started off by scheduling one on one's with a lot of the leads who could give me an idea of how things worked and then I jumped in and started schedulig meetings to pull people together to figure out what needed to be done (a re-org) and then how it should be done and now we're doing some preliminary work before getting down to a re-design. We'll also need approval before we commit significant resources to this re-design which will be hard to get.

And yes, I'm so dumb. Every meeting I go to is way over my head. Even though our product is young there is so much history I don't have an appreciation for and there is always a a sea of acronyms: SPDIF, AC3, DVI, 720p, 1020i, ZBB, BVT, IDX, LRPC...

To say that new PM hires need to be able to deal with ambiguity is an understatement.

Anyhow, time to get to work, thanks Chris for feeling me in on what my next eleven months will look like. Hopefully I can navigate around the pitfalls.

(Now that HR has a blog, NEO (New Employee Orientation) should get a blog and link to Chris's article).
8:40:20 AM  Permalink to this item []


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Updated: 4/11/2005; 8:35:31 PM.