Golden Rules for Program Managers: #4

Make Things Easy for People

Program managers are often the hunters and gatherers of information. We have to run to several sources to collect information and then package\*\* it all up in a way that will make sense to our audience. As you're doing this, your goal should be to make things as easy for others as possible. Here's an example.

Imagine you have a form that requires input from an engineering manager, a tech lead, and a product marketing manager. You could send an email to all 3 of them, attach the form and say "please fill in your part and send it back to me."

However if you want to make it easier for these folks you can send an individual email to each one of them. (I've found people are much more likely to answer an email that's sent only to them, rather than one that's sent to a large group or an alias.) Cut and paste just the questions that you need them to answer into the email, and ask them to supply the data in an email response. This saves them the time of opening the attachment and figuring out which questions they need to answer.

This approach might take a little bit more of your time but your team members will appreciate it, and you'll get what you want faster in the end.

\*\*Note that during this packaging process you need to be sure you're adding value. If you find you're just compiling people's input into one email or onto one wiki site then you're probably not adding much value. And you're probably bored too... Time to either start throwing yourself into your current job more or else start looking for a new one.

Comments:

Hello Melanie! I was just getting our announcements together for our new baby (going through our address book) and thought I'd Google you to see what you are up to, and here you are! Glad to hear you and your family are doing well! I like your blog! Jenny

Posted by Jenny on June 01, 2006 at 10:00 PM CST #

Congratulations!!! I can't wait to see pictures of the new baby. :)

Posted by guest on June 01, 2006 at 10:51 PM CST #

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