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Why Did I Become a Program Manager at Nokia? – Werner Pisar

Werner Pisar is a member of the ProjectDirectors.Org community. He shares his story on why he became a Program Manager at Nokia in the following interview:

Why did you become a Program Manager?

More or less accidentally, growing from Business Analysis Role. It was kind of a logical growth step.

What work were you doing previously?

Business Process Owner, Business Analyst.

What are you doing now?

Leading a Program to develop and deploy new Supply Chain Models and Segmentation Approaches.

When was the moment you decided to make the change?

I fortunately have a good standing as to find new attractive assignments.

Are you happy with the change?


What do you miss and what don’t you miss?

Going to be Project Lead took partially away the opportunity to be deep in content work I had done before
-Now its other people who have to deliver content in time.

How did you go about making this career move?

I basically volunteered to not so popular assignments.

What didn’t go well? What ‘wrong turns’ did you take?

I had to learn the hard way, that leadership requires hard decisions and confrontation if needed. I sometimes had too much patience with people not up to the job.

How did you handle your finances to make your change possible?

Never a true concern, as I did stay in same company.

What was the most difficult thing about changing?

Understanding that I am the face of the Project for better or worse.

What were other difficulties and how did you overcome them?

Keeping multiple balls in the air at the same time.

What help did you get?

Strong Team of PM with mutual support.

What have you learnt in the process?

“Fake it til you make it” is an possible approach to overcome your own doubts and miseries.

What do you wish you’d done differently?

Be more relaxed and balanced even under fire.

What would you advise others to do in the same situation?

Make the step to Project Lead consciously, if you do not feel it is right, don’t do it. It is not for everyone.