Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

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The disadvantages of being a Program Manager

The disadvantages of being a Program Manager

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As a Program Manager in spam filtering in Exchange Hosted Services, there are plusses and minuses.  The advantages are described here.  But it's not all fun and games.  There are some drawbacks.

  1. Program managing means following up on the little stuff.  In Microsoft, a PM is responsible for overseeing a project.  That doesn't mean that they do the work, but they do need to follow up on stuff.  That's probably a part of the job that I like the least.  For example, let's suppose that we are creating a new internal delisting project, I would be the one to follow up with the NetOps department, talk to Service Automation about writing the replication script, and so forth.  Lots of little things that have got to get done that take up lots of time when added together.

    I understand that this is something that has to get done and is vital to the operation of the feature and to the company.  What I don't like is that following up on all this stuff takes up time from doing spam analysis.  It's a tradeoff in getting a feature done vs analyzing trends and figuring out how to make our product better.

  2. Program Managers are not supposed to code... but sometimes I want to.  During our previous feature development, there were a few times when I really wanted to do some of the coding myself in order to get it done.  But, at least in Microsoft, PMs by-and-large are not supposed to code.  We're supposed to delegate.  But man, it can be really frustrating wanting to do it myself.

  3. The lack of time to drill down into spam.  I used to keep very close tabs on what was going on in the world of spam because I processed so much of it.  Now, I rarely get to see it because I'm doing other stuff.  I still do my best to keep up with general spam trends, but I do miss the daily battle from time to time.

    This is a double-edged sword.  I like processing spam from time to time, but not all the time.  About 15 minutes a week going through it is all I need.

So like anything in life, there are tradeoffs.  But at this point I think that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

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