Tag Archives: IT

Project vs. Program Management: Making the Transition

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: September 18, 2017

Image: https://pixabay.com/en/business-success-winning-chart-163464/

While program management and project management are two different roles, there may come a time when a project starts to transition into a program. When this happens, it’s important to have an action plan in place to prepare for the next steps. To better understand how to prepare, we’re exploring project vs. program management:

The Project
Projects differ from programs in that they typically have a shorter duration and a smaller team of people working on them. Projects are clearly defined and work toward producing a tangible outcome. During the project, a team focuses on planning, creating, and producing deliverables. They follow a tighter schedule and have fewer stakeholders which make the project risk easier to supervise. Project managers deal more often with resource and task management, whereas program managers work more strategically with the deliverables from individual projects.

The Program
Most of the effort in a project focuses on a single goal. On the other hand, programs usually have larger teams working toward business delivery and strategic management for a longer period of time. Programs integrate multiple related projects into one unit, usually managed with the goal of achieving an overarching objective. This goal is usually some type of benefit for the organization. Programs are more business focused than projects and have a greater number of stakeholders, which makes the impacts of any failures much greater.

Making the Transition
If you’re acting as a project manager, but your projects are now turning toward a program, you must be prepared to make some changes to the way you’ve been leading the team. In one of their papers, the Project Management Institute recommends following 10 steps:

Think:

  1. Business instead of delivery
  2. Dependencies instead of schedule
  3. Escalation instead of reporting
  4. Strategy instead of scope
  5. Conflict instead of crisis
  6. Governance instead of teams
  7. Transition instead of transfer
  8. Challenge instead of salary
  9. Relaxation instead of stress
  10. Program triple constraints (benefit, customer, and cost)

When your project is making the transition from project to program, it’s critical to identify who the leaders will be. Program managers envision the long term goals of the entire program and set the completion dates of individual projects. Project managers focus on organizing and delegating the resources, budget, and assign specific tasks to the team members. After an organized leadership, make the necessary changes to the new program’s timeline and clarify how the projects will fit into the program’s bigger picture.

After you’ve determined the leadership and followed the steps listed above, you’re ready to bring the program to life. If you’re looking for more project management advice, read our articles on adaptability in project management and how to manage vendor relationships.

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Making the Most from a Networking Event

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: September 8, 2017

Image courtesy of TheInfiniteActuary

Networking events are essential for career development and business opportunities. Whether you need to find a job, connect with certain employees or companies, or desire to collaborate on a project, networking events can facilitate your professional growth. Since it can connect you with the right people, it’s important to approach networking seriously and make the most of it. Here are six networking event tips how:

1. Be prepared
You’re going to meet people, so it’s best to be prepared to talk about who you are, what you do, and what you’re looking for. You won’t look very professional if you’re stumbling over your words or taking too long to respond to a question. Be ready to discuss your career, aspirations, and experiences. Don’t forget to bring your resume if you’re looking to get hired, or your business cards if you need to distribute your contact information.

2. Find a way to stand out
You certainly won’t be the only person that the people at a networking event will talk to. Everyone will mingle throughout the evening and possibly have conversations with dozens of others at these events. Whether it’s finding a common interest with someone, sending a follow-up email within a few days, or having a firm handshake, it’s important for you to positively stand out to this person so that the people you connected with don’t forget you.

3. Ask good questions
Asking questions is beneficial not only because it’ll help you better understand a person or organization, but also because it’s the backbone of networking conversations. These conversations are fueled by inquiries, so try to ask the right questions when appropriate. It may help to do a little homework about a person or the company he or she works for beforehand. Try making a list of potential questions you could ask others before attending a networking event, that way you feel prepared.

4. Dress like a professional
You don’t have to dress like you’re going into an interview, but do everyone a favor and leave your oversized suit at home. Remember, you’ll be making a lot of first impressions when you’re networking. Make sure to have a clean overall appearance, and, just like in interviews, avoid wearing perfume or cologne. Keep your business cards in an easily accessible places. After all, you don’t want your new acquaintances watching you digging through piles of rubble in your bag.

5. Have a goal in mind
Don’t go to a networking event blindly. Ask yourself beforehand what you want to accomplish from meeting certain people. Looking for job opportunities? Have an elevator pitch memorized.  Trying to collaborate on projects? Be ready to explain what you have to offer to their team. When you meet people, think of how they can help you carry out your plans and act accordingly.

6. Don’t forget your manners
It may be tempting to look around for an exit when you’re in a dead conversation, but remember to maintain a level of professionalism. When someone is talking, listen. If you want to end the conversation, end it politely rather than abruptly. Remember to ask just as many questions as you have answered. You don’t want to burn bridges with potential connections within the first five minutes of meeting them.

Networking is a powerful way to expand your professional connections and you should always take advantage of the opportunity to build your contacts. Understanding the right ways to prepare for them can help you set yourself apart from everyone else.

How do you approach networking events? Let us know on Twitter and LinkedIn! Follow us on our website to search open tech roles that might be a great fit for you.

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Effective Onboarding: Tips for Retaining Talent

This Post was written by Darcy Uustal
Date posted: August 30, 2017

The hiring process can be time consuming, cumbersome, and expensive, which is why you want this process to be as smooth as possible. The more effective your onboarding, the more likely you are to retain your talent for the long run. Take the time to reexamine your onboarding process and consider these simple changes that are easy to make. Keep these tips in mind to ensure your onboarding process is effective for both you and your employees.

Give them a warm welcome
Your new hires have just made an important life decision to join your company, so always make sure they feel welcome! A nice welcome email before they start, including some of the key team members they will be working with, is a nice touch. Naturally, you’ll be showing them around the office, but don’t forget to personally introduce them to their coworkers.

Provide them with the proper resources
You can’t do your job effectively when you don’t have the right equipment, and neither can your employees. Double check that all badges, laptops, passwords, and network access is set up before their first day. It’s also a nice touch to make sure their desk/office is clean and prepared for them to settle into. A nice ‘welcome to the company’ sign in their working space goes a long way!

Pair them with a mentor
If possible, pair your new hire with one of their peers who performs well and has shown strong leadership skills. When they are with someone who already knows the ins and outs of the job they will feel more confident asking questions and adjusting to their new role. You can also check in with their partner to see if they are doing well. This also keeps more seasoned employees engaged and lets them know you see them as senior staff and a mentor.

Provide educational opportunities
Initial training is always necessary, but educational opportunities should not disappear after that. Employees will avoid stagnation and feel more productive if they have the ability to take part in career development programs. Offering training opportunities is important during onboarding and should continue throughout employment.

Schedule regular check-ins
In addition to a 30-60-90 day review, try setting up a time to meet with your new hire once a week. Maybe you sit down with them one-on-one every Monday to review upcoming tasks to have them summarize what they have been working on. If you can’t commit to a one-on-one once a week, set a meeting up twice per month. The important piece is keeping the scheduled time together. Doing so will help your new employee feel supported and more open to asking questions, but most importantly it shows them that you care about how they feel in their new position.

Tweaking your onboarding process can make the difference between your newest hires staying or leaving. Feeling supported in a new role, and maintain that support is key. How does your company welcome new employees to the team?

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Common Questions To Expect in your Next Interview

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: August 4, 2017

Yes, job interviews can be nerve racking, especially when you’re anticipating the difficult questions. But, you can prepare several ways. You can research the company, review your skills, refresh your knowledge of technical programs and you can also anticipate some of the questions they’ll be asking. Here are three common interview questions and because we have your back …. a few tips on how to approach answering them:

Why are you seeking to leave your current position?
Avoid sounding too negative whenever your job history comes up. Now is not the time to vent all your frustrations about your previous employer. Instead, use this as an opportunity to outline what goals you have for your career path. Maybe you want to leave your current role because you feel that you have not been able to grow professionally as much as you would like. Take this negative and turn it into a chance to talk about the types of projects you want to be involved in. Let them know you are looking for a job that gives you room to advance.

What is your greatest weakness?
Do not answer with something that sounds more like a strength, such as “I’m a perfectionist.” This is overused and the interviewees will appreciate a more thoughtful, honest answer. Whatever you do choose to share, put a positive spin on it. Elaborate on what you are doing to break a bad habit or explain how you have taken the time to recognize your weaknesses.

Do you prefer working alone or on a team?
While this question seems simple enough, it can be tricky. If you answer that you prefer teams, you don’t want to send the message that you aren’t confident in your skills when functioning independently. If you prefer solo work, your interviewers may translate that into you not being able to work well with others. Let them know that you are open to both styles, if that’s true for you. Otherwise, be honest with your preference. Doing so will help you better determine if you are the right fit for the job.

Feel like you could use a little more interview prep? Here are some guides to help you ace the interview and make a positive impression during the job hunt process.

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