After 6 years at my company (smallish consumer products company) I am being promoted from a development engineer to a project manager with a team of half a dozen engineers reporting to me.
I've always sought leadership roles in my private life and am excited to be able to continue that trend in my career. I've been an MT listener for about a year now (thanks James for the referral!) and am now currently reviewing the 'blocking & tackling' casts- feedback, one on ones, etc.
A couple of challenges specific to my position I'd love to get some advice on from experienced managers (especially technical / project managers):
Due to some recent departures (including the boss who's position I'm taking) my team is down to 3 plus me. I have 5 reqs to fill. However the project load is still oriented at a full team and we have impending deadlines for our 2008 product season. I'm currently diving into the hiring process. Under intense pressure to get a high workload done with a partial staff how do you keep the hiring bar high?
2 of my current directs are significantly older than I am. I was peers with all 3. How do I make the transition to the 'boss' with a minimum of fuss? I'm well respected by my team and was seen as the clear successor (although there were some reservations about youth [28 years old]).
One of my directs is a low performer. I'd like to work with him intensely to increase his capability. He is also a difficult person to work with who alienates our other partners in the product development process. How long should I focus on the transition before I start developing a strong handed coaching plan and giving corrective feedback that will probably not be well received?
I currently have a full project load of design work carrying over from my old position. This will not be alleviated until I can bring the team up to full strength or at least until I get 1 or 2 new engineers in. I'm having problems juggling the two roles and am finding I need to work 10-14 hour days to keep up to speed. Are there any techniques to managing this in the interim?
There is a tension of styles (aka politics) between my boss and his boss (who had pushed for me to be promoted). What's the best way to keep both relationships strong?
My predecessor was immensely popular both with his team and our internal customers within the company. I want to keep his management style (he was my mentor for 3 years) while also implementing the MT tools (such as one on ones, quarterly reviews, etc). Any tips to making this transition?
I'm extremely excited about meeting new challenges and developing a whole new skill set. Any other thoughts for someone making the management leap?