Transitioning into Management – Part 2

Last week, I discussed the different types of management roles. This week, we will explore how to get experience for to transition into those roles.

When transitioning into a new role (or any role for that matter), you must demonstrate some sort of experience or knowledge that is related to that role in order to position yourself as a competitive candidate. Each role requires a specific skill set. In other words, to successfully obtain a new role/job that is different that what you are doing now, you need to show that you have the skills that new role requires.

Let’s take a look at each type of management position and its requirements. I will focus on the tech industry for these examples just to keep things consistent.

Program/Project Manager

  • Creates a project planning, reporting and tracking framework and benchmarks.
  • Manages communications regarding project management practices that create clear, concise requirements in project functionality, resourcing, budgets and timing.
  • Leads in the selection and adoption of specific tools to facilitate compliance with established methodologies.

Product Manager

  • Developing business case, business plan, product definition and specifications, product launch and life cycle management activities.
  • Monitoring problem areas; defining or approving planned product enhancements.
  • Participating in quality assessment and improvement processes.
  • Gathering marketplace requirements and setting direction for future product evolution.

People Management

  • Managing high-impact, long duration engineering initiatives and projects; ensuring achievement of engineering plan and product quality.
  • Providing specialized engineering technical support and consulting services to various areas of the organization.
  • Maintaining product release plans and material plans; driving programs to completion on time and within budget.
  • Managing staffing, development, and performance management programs for engineering teams; motivating and developing project and team leaders.

Although each management role has some similarities, there are distinct skills and requirements that differentiate them from one another.

Now that we understand each role and its requirements, we can create a course of action to obtain those skills. To gain a new skill you can  seek out a mentor/adviser in your organization, volunteer for special projects, create your own side project, or further your education. Here are a few examples for each.

Program/Project Manager

  • Volunteer to create your team’s next project proposal under supervision of the current project manager.
  • Ask to take the first stab at created next quarter’s budget.
  • Write a grant proposal.
  • Create a new, smaller project that you can lead (with support from your boss of course).
  • Study for the Project Management Professional Exam and get your PMP Certification.

Product Manager

  • Volunteer to work with the UI/UX or marketing group in your organization.
  • Design your own prototype for a side project.
  • Research Product Management and industry trends.
  • Take a Product Management course through General Assembly or your local university.

People Management

  • Find a mentor or become a mentor. Several larger companies have mentoring programs in place–contact HR to find out.
  • Ask to oversee the interns next summer.
  • Lead a tech talk or workshop for your team or company.
  • Invest in yourself through professional development and management courses and books.

These are just a few examples to get you started. What do you think? Where do you see yourself headed in the next 5 years?



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