You can see your project deadlines approaching quickly as their delivery moves further and further away.

You’re spinning fifteen plates at once and if you take your eyes off them for a second, they’ll all come crashing down like dominoes. That, and you have to take the kids to football…

It might not be the kids, but you probably do have responsibilities outside of your “nine to five” that need your attention.

As a programme manager, you have to learn to juggle the demands of many moving parts and responsibilities at work and the stresses of modern day life.

Otherwise, you’ll find yourself unravelling quickly.

Here are nine tips to keep you in control of your career and at the top of your game:

  1. Break projects down into digestible tasks and prioritise them to combat delays and generally improve your process.
  2. Be honest from the start and manage unrealistic expectations. Prevent people from shoehorning processes into impossible targets, and become a sounding board for team optimism and lip service.
  3. Invest in programme management tools and software to automate the tasks that you can.
  4. Secure a reliable pipeline of talent and build a strategic partnership with a recruitment agency. You’re only as good as the team you have to support you.
  5. Build a team with accountability, capability and reliability that you can delegate work to with confidence.
  6. Accept that the project won’t go to plan and learn to work in the gray areas that you can’t change, foresee or control. Don’t dwell on budget cuts, delays or external problems but look at the best solutions that are then open to you.
  7. Constantly review, evolve and refine your processes.
  8. Develop your people skills as much as your technical skills as the best programme managers have both in their armoury. You need to wear many hats as a programme manager, you need to be a motivator, an organiser and a leader.
  9. Most importantly, find the time to switch off.

Build a team that allows you to step away from the coal face. If you’re stuck down in the trenches you won’t see what’s approaching in the distance.

You also need the time away to enjoy your life outside of work.


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