While it is important for project managers and program managers to have trust and rapport, it is also important for the Program Manager to obtain the trust of the actual project teams. In the end, as much as we try to avoid it, keeping a program on schedule often requires some level of heroics on the part of the project teams to deliver. But these are the people who are the least likely to have any direct contact with the senior sponsors of the program, which means that they need a connection with you as the Program Manager to inspire them to work hard towards the vision of the program and to provide delivery excellence. You can build that rapport by:
- Working with them to resolve issues: With all the status reports, dashboards, and meetings that are involved with a program, it is easy for project teams to believe that the program manager is only interested in identifying issues with the project that they are expected to solve. So it is important for the program manager to actively work with the team to resolve issues that have been identified. The program manager has the authority and access to resources that can simplify the resolution to issues and his willingness to use them will help the project teams realize that program management is not just an oversight role, but something that will make their lives easier throughout the course of the program.
- Recognize Hard Work / Successes Publicly: When the project team does perform heroics in order to meet a program deliverable or when they just meet the deliverable, it’s important for the program manager to publicly recognize the accomplishment. This reassures the project team that their work is being appreciated, and that the members of the steering committee are aware of that work.