One man's chore is another man's hobby. Another man's dread, is the other's fantasy. Such, in a fashion, is Program Management in the Navy.
To be a good one, step one is to be self-aware. From his latest article in USNI's Proceedings, Confessions of a Major Program Manager, Captain Mark Vandroff, USN just lays it out; "Face it: Everyone hates MPMs. For the budget-conscious officials in the Pentagon, our products are never cheap enough. For technologists both inside and outside the Department of Defense who want military progress to be state of the art, our products are never fielded fast enough. For the fleet users and their advocates, products could always be more capable, usable, or maintainable. Industry gets upset when we treat the taxpayers’ money like it is worth saving rather than help Wall Street with its next earnings report. Our uniformed brothers and sisters, support scientists, contractors, and comptrollers all loathe us—and if you aren’t in one of those groups, you probably quit reading already."
Coming back to Midrats, we will have the author on for the full hour to discuss the dark art of the program manager, what it takes to be one, and why at the end of the day someone would - really - come to love it all.
Captain Vandroff is a 1989 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. With 10 years as a surface warfare officer and 16 years as an engineering duty officer, he is currently the major program manager for Arleigh Burke class destoyers.