Program Management in Defense and High Tech Environments  book cover
1st Edition

Program Management in Defense and High Tech Environments

ISBN 9781482208382
Published November 5, 2015 by Auerbach Publications
270 Pages 37 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Program management in a technical environment is as much art as it is science. Effective program managers are able to combine management and leadership skills for the good of the program and the people entrusted to them. This book illuminates the entire life cycle of the program—from the customer’s original concept to successful completion. It includes many helpful ideas and insights into why programs and program managers can fail. Much more importantly, it provides insights about how program managers can succeed.

Program Management in Defense and High Tech Environments is organized as a chronological "tale" of a program life cycle, with "side trips" that cover the important concepts of leadership, claims and claims avoidance, earned value measurement (EVM), communication basics, negotiations, and coaching. The book begins with an overview of program management, discussing the role of program managers, their required skills and experience, and the types of programs and contracts.

The remainder of the book provides more detail on the program manager’s role and the environment in which he or she works. Understanding that academic explanations of program management activities can be dry, the author uses true-to-life stories to present the nuts and bolts of the work. These stories illustrate the science of program management and the art that is necessary for success.

The book discusses many of the common program pitfalls. It explains how to detect and avoid scope creep—the unintended expansion of program scope. It details both internal and external scope creep and stresses the importance of constant vigilance to prevent cost overruns and schedule delays.

Program Management in Defense and High Tech Environments is a comprehensive guide for early- and mid-career program managers to understand what they need to do to be successful. It is also a valuable resource for later-career program managers who want to learn through other program managers’ successes and failures.

Table of Contents

Overview: Program Management in the Department of Defense (DoD)/High Technology Environment
Role of the Program Manager
Qualifications, Experience, Talents, and Skills
Types of Programs
Types of Contracts
Organizational Overview—Departmental Interfaces
End of Chapter Questions

Learning the Ropes: Understanding the Culture, the Customer, and the Program Capabilities
The Program in the Company Culture
The Program and the Customer (And His or Her Culture)
The Program and the Team
End of Chapter Questions

Identifying Opportunities
The Program Manager’s Knowledge Is Key
Program Manager Opportunities
End of Chapter Questions

Pre-Proposal Work
Using Pre-Proposal Efforts to Develop a Winning Proposal
Other Considerations
End of Chapter Questions

The Proposal Process for a "Typical Program"
The Important Pre-Proposal Period
To Bid or Not to Bid
Developing the Strategy—Getting Started
"Price to Win"
Leading the Proposal Team
Building the Team
Proposal Preparation—Storyboarding and Team Dynamics
Pricing Strategies and Risk Management
Business Reviews—The Sign-Off Process
Noncompetitive Proposals
Winning and Almost Winning the Contract—Final Negotiations
Contract Refinement
But What if You Lose?
What if You Lost for the "Wrong Reason"?
End of Chapter Questions

Planning the Program and Starting Work
The Management Part
The Leadership Part
Outsourcing Work Packages
Outsourcing Product
Building the Program Culture
End of Chapter Questions

Running the Program
Leadership Styles
Making Progress and Monitoring Progress
Monitoring Progress—Metrics
Focusing on Quality
Managing the Customer
Identifying and Avoiding Performance Traps
Getting "Stuck" and Getting "Unstuck"
Customers as Motivators
Keeping Senior Management Engaged
Detecting Trouble and Determining What To Do About It
When Problems Get Really Bad
Countervailing Forces and Priorities
Detecting and Avoiding "Scope Creep"—Internal
Detecting and Avoiding "Scope Creep"—External
Scope Creep—In Summary
Monitoring Versus Controlling
Cost Control in the Trenches
Monitoring Schedules—Program Reviews
Leadership and Caring
Program Changes and Continuity
Managing External Changes
Celebrating Victories—Confronting Defeats
Dealing with Individual Performance Problems
Diagnosing and Resolving Problems
Celebrating the Success at the End of the Program
End of Chapter Questions

Claim Identification, Claim Management, and Claim Avoidance
Late GFE
Defective GFE
Delayed Approvals or Contract Actions
Inappropriate Disapprovals or Comments
Noncontractual Direction
Flawed Technical Specifications
Defective Information
Claims Against You
Other Considerations in Claim Management
End of Chapter Questions

Leadership Models
Leadership: Getting People To Do What You Want Them To Do
End of Chapter Questions

Communications among the Team
What About Communication outside the Team?
Communication with the Customer
A Critical Communication Skill
End of Chapter Questions

Earned Value Management
Applying EVM Theory
End of Chapter Questions

Contract Negotiations
Customer Negotiations—Ongoing Contracts
Internal Negotiations—Work Budgets
Support Groups—Negotiations with Support Groups
Supplier Negotiations
Subcontractor Negotiations
End of Chapter Questions

Recognizing Influence in Coaching
Determining When to Coach
End of Chapter Questions

Inheriting a Program Already in Progress
Becoming a Member and Leader of the Team
Importance of Continuity
Fresh EAC
End of Chapter Questions

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Charlie McCarthy, having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Manhattan College, joined a large electronics company. His second assignment on their Professional Development Program became permanent, and Charlie began his "first career" as a systems/digital design engineer. For most of his career, his work has been in nuclear instrumentation and control systems, for both commercial and government power plants.

As much as Charlie loved electrons and diodes, he loved working with people more, and gradually grew into technical and project leadership roles. Charlie’s technical and analytical interests and his interest in people found a happy overlap in program management. Along with growth in experience and technical competence, he earned a master’s of science in electrical engineering from The Johns Hopkins University. He has successfully managed a wide range of projects and programs, from those with one or two people to large, complex hardware and software programs involving over 50 engineers and operations personnel.