We got through 2020 but that doesn’t mean 2021 will be a slam dunk. As the world (hopefully) emerges slowly from the pandemic, a lot of uncertainty still exists. The companies we work for are navigating this uncertain world and trying to predict the future. Customer requirements may have changed…


We can be so focused on our day-to-day work that we forget to step back, review the work we’ve been doing, and think about how we might share with our colleagues some of the things we’ve developed or enhanced. What work have you done lately that made things better for you, your direct reports, or the teams you support? What about that new scheduling template you used to extract milestones from your team? Or the virtual offsite agenda you tried out that really got people to open up and participate? Or a more productive way to use an online collaborative tool for retrospectives? Our new remote work situation is as good a time as any to offer up a new best practice to your colleagues with the goal of enabling others to be more productive. And let’s face it, it feels good too!


I was taking a walk with a former colleague recently–and yes, we were socially distanced and doubly masked up! We were having that conversation that I’ve started having with friends where you ask each other where you’ll travel to first when the pandemic lets up and it’s safe to travel…


I often hear program managers say they want to be more strategic but at the same time they tell me how busy they are just keeping their head (and those of their direct reports) above water, getting the many things done on their continually increasing task list. I get it–your…


Everyone wants to know they’re supported. That goes for program managers too! For them, that person is usually the executive sponsor. Ideally a program will have one single executive sponsor, one “throat to choke” as the saying goes. I have run programs with co-sponsors, and if they communicate well and…


Effective program management requires that you have your finger on the pulse of everything that’s going on related to the program and are available to the program team as needed. The number of programs a program manager can handle simultaneously varies but they know when their plate is full, so to speak. When you get to that point — when the number of requests for support is greater than what you can handle, rather than take on more programs with less than optimal support for each, I’d rather see ruthless prioritization so you can do your best work on the most important programs. Otherwise you run the risk of leaving your team members feeling unsatisfied and with an inaccurate view of the real value of program management.


While running the PMO at Zendesk, one of my program managers was trying to decide whether to stay in the PMO or move to another department — into a role that was also a good fit for her qualifications and experience in a domain that she loved. The department head…


While running the PMO at Zendesk, one of my most naturally instinctive program managers came to me one day in frustration, worried that there were too many people in her program meeting. It had started out well enough, but after a few weeks, given the importance and visibility of the…


An effective partnership between program management and operations is a key part of ensuring a company runs well. A good example of such a partnership is planning — long-range, annual, or quarterly. Whether doing planning at the corporate or the organizational level, operations and program management usually partner closely on…


Program managers are all about getting others to do things. They know who the domain experts are and they harness all of that wonderful expertise to get a program across the line. They facilitate rather than do the work themselves. They are objective, focused on the program and how it…

Paula Dieli

Obsessively passionate about helping software companies run well.

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