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I am a software developer, and I have been offered a new job opportunity : Technical Project Manager.

I will manage a project that will be implemented by four teams (with different roles); each team has a team leader.

They say that management is the art of realizing tasks through people. How do I do that given the fact that I am not the manager / leader of any of the teams ?

Hope isn't enough, ironically.

  • This feels pretty broad -- are you more asking about the duties of a TPM, or project management strategies in general? It feels like you may be looking for a larger guide to project management than just an answer here on PM SE. If you have a more specific question, I'd be happy to help out! :) – JDRoger May 16 '17 at 17:20
  • My question is : how do I influence these teams and make them reach certain goals even though I'm not their manager ? – occulti May 16 '17 at 19:34
  • What actual problem are you facing? "How can I be a project manager?" is entirely too broad. Please pick one concrete problem that has the possibility of a canonical answer. – Todd A. Jacobs May 18 '17 at 2:31
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I have a similar job description.

The team leaders are your team.

Make sure the team leaders are on the same page. Make sure they are communicating with each other. Make sure that each team lead is using similar libraries, frameworks, and processes.

Meet with your team leaders and find out which teams need more assistance, or if there is any conflict between teams, you will need to resolve those conflicts.

  • During the recruitment process, the managers who interviewed me said that there are a lot of conflicts. What are the first steps that I should follow to identify the conflicts / interests and to detect the political map of the teams ? – occulti May 17 '17 at 14:43
  • @Sherlock Sounds like a good separate question to ask. That's beyond my experience. – avi May 17 '17 at 21:34
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To start with, it's not always the case that a developer has the skills or wants go become a project manager. A developer likes to develop cool software, and that's what he does best. Making him a PM or a manager or sorts might not be the best option. Your case might differ though.

Second, a leader should lead by example and make sure his team(s) are self sufficient and have all they need to deliver, and therefore to remove any obstacles. Being someone with a lot of experience on the subject helps, as the team members will have someone too look up to and respect his opinion. Also, a leader inspired and coaches the team and the people around him.

What a leader should not do (anti-patterns)

  • chase people around

  • tell people what to do

  • micromanage

  • ask constantly "when is it ready?"

  • avoid problems

  • tolerate lack of accountability

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I think the key here for you is to leverage on the skills you already have to understand what needs to be implemented at a technical level to gain the trust and respect of those that will be doing the work. This is what I have done moving from a developer to a Project Manager. Once they trust you they will be more inclined to come to you with their impediments and updates as they are able to talk to you about the work. From a project side you need to ensure proper planning is done and the work is broken down into the correct levels so that you can manage/monitor the progress of the teams.

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If this is an Agile environment, you can take a look at the Scaled Agile Frameworks such as LeSS, Nexus or DAD. I recommend starting with SAFe if you are not Agile and want to move from a waterfall environment to an Agile one.

You also need to have soft skills as well, My advice to you would be:

  • All those people are your team, make them feel that
  • Lead by example, sit with each and every one
  • Understand them and have an honest one on ones with them
  • Help them realize you are vulnerable and be proud of that

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