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What is a Program Manager – decoding technical jobs

By September 28, 2018 No Comments
program manager

At Rakuten Aquafadas, there are multitude of jobs. But some job titles might be a little unclear if not mysterious. In order to make them easier to understand, we’re running a regular blog column designed to Decode” our technical professions. Today we are chatting to Audrey, Junior Program Manager at Rakuten Aquafadas 


Junior Program Manager: Audrey Congard 


Tell us about being a Program Manager?

Program Manager is a person who deals with several projects, unlike a Project Manager who focuses on a single project. 

My main role is to coordinate all the R&D teams with the sales teams by ensuring that development schedules are met and that releases and new features of our products are well communicated. I’m also in charge of creating a link between sales teams based in Paris and developers in Montpellier, which means that I organize weekly meetings, write meetings notes etc. 

I handle various project management tools like Jira and Confluence. I try to modify how we use them depending on our needs and by answering to all requests, suggestions, questions on their functioning. 

I also oversee how we apply the Agile methodoly at Rakuten Aquafadas – a fairly common project management methodology. My goal is to share best practices, write guides and tutorials to inform my colleagues and make them use it better. 

On top, my job is all about project monitoring, reports sharing, supervising customer projects and many more.


What’s exciting about your job?

The fact that it is super varied! Every day is different – I never do the same thing despite of some recurring tasks. I always encounter new situations and face new issues to solve. 

As we are a company that constantly evolves, it’s necessary to reorganize our work and because of that I never get bored! 

Work relations also make my work interesting. I constantly interact with a lot of people: the entire R&D team, sales colleagues, marketing department, HR. And I love it!


What are the benefits of working in an e-commerce and Internet company such as the Rakuten Group in terms of professional opportunities and projects to work on? 

One of them is the fact that I interact with people who work abroad. I often communicate with managers from Rakuten Europe entities like Rakuten France or other technical Divisions for example. I’m also in touch with colleagues in Japan, just for that it’s amazing! Daily contact with other business inside the Rakuten group allows me to see how others work and learn and apply best practices.


What’s the most difficult? 

It’s not so hard. Although this role requires a lot of knowledge – once acquired – it’s easy enough. But what’s challenging it’s how to manage human relationships and conflict. You have to be attentive and handle this kind of situations on daily basis. 

Also, having to work with several Rakuten entities involves having to deal with different time zones and juggling everybody’s busy calendars! 

I must admit that I often feel like a “mum” when I manage and oversee others. But I don’t mind that!


What kind of training and skills do you need to become Program Manager? 

I did a Master in Languages specialized in International Project Management. There is no specific training for this job but it is important to have basics in Project Management. And remember to always learn about the latest trends, new practices and stay curious! 


How do you think your job will evolve in the future?

There are always new trends in this area, maybe within 2 years new project management methods will emerge and we will have to implement them. It’s a job that adapts and evolves at the same time as the company!


What makes a Program Manager laugh? 

I preferred to share a picture – which was displayed in our old offices’ coffee corner – I think it’s spot on. We must constantly ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page.

It’s so representative of what a Program Manager has to deal with! 

program manager

If you like our column, why don’t you check our last articles where we decoded Net DeveloperCreative Technologist, Back End Developer, Front End Developer, Graphic-User Interface Designer and Product Owner. 

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