In this essay, I will describe my manager John B. I have been working under John since 2009 at Thomson Reuters’ Markets Technology Operations. John is the Senior Operations Program Manager for the Aureola program at Thomson Reuters’ Markets Technology Operations. Thomson Reuters Markets initiated the Aureola Programme in 2009 to manage, in a better and effective way, the many applications that are sent to Thomson Reuters Markets. The program is also to manage the huge number of servers across the company data centers.
Generally, this paper aims to describe who John is and what his work entails. The paper will also describe the Aureola program and will show how the skills that John possesses fits in his position. The essay will approach the description of John from the management perspective. This essay will enable the reader to appreciate the professional experience that I have garnered under John. This essay will give the background of the manager and then dwell on describing his management skills after which a conclusion is drawn in which I state the management skill I wish to develop.
Background of the Operations Program Manager John B
About John B
John is an Information Technology and Services specialist who holds a Masters degree in System Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He went through his MS degree between 1987 and 1989. He is an electrical engineer having obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of New York between 1975 and 1980. John has worked with two companies. Between June 1994 and January 2004 he worked for Lucent Technologies. Lucent Technologies is a company in the telecommunications industry. After spending 9 years and seven months at Lucent Technologies, John left the position of operation program manager and moved on to Thomson Reuter in January 2004. Thomson Reuters is an information service company and John has been working for it since then. Currently, he is the senior operations program manager at the company. John is a member of Eta Kappa Nu. He is also a member of the Lucent Technologies Alumni Network. John is interested in career opportunities.
About the Company He Works for
Thomson Reuters where John currently works is a provider of business and industrial information. The company serves businesses and professionals. It reaches out to several fields giving out insightful information on finances, legal matters, taxation, media markets, health care, and science issues. The company offers its services electronically on a subscription basis. The operations of the company are mainly concentrated in America (Thomas Reuters, 2010). Though the company is doing great at the moment it is feared that the competition at the market may push the prices of the services down thus affecting the profitability of the company. The products of the company are offered through markets and professional divisions; these are the two main divisions of the company (Datamonitor 2010, p. 4). A newly launched program the Aureola program is under the professional division.
About the Aureola Programme
The Aureola program is headed by John. The program has been viewed as a multi-year initiative meant to effectively and appropriately manage the huge number of applications and servers across the company’s market data centers. This is achieved by, “standardizing, virtualizing, migrating and automating” (Aureola program-PPP, p.1) the many applications and servers. The program is a milestone to the company as it has the potential to make the technology infrastructure very convenient by making it “faster, cheaper, better and one which utilizes less carbon footprint” (Aureola program, p. 1). The program makes it possible for future changes in technology to be easily implemented. This is so because the program decouples most of the application from hardware. This is expected to be very cost-effective because it will be possible for one to easily take advantage of any new developments in hardware inputs and thus ensuring the growth of technology cost is minimal.
To achieve the expected benefits from the program, the operations division will continue running the program from two perspectives; utility services and strategic themes. Under the utility services operations division will address the application utility. Under the application utility the following will be paid attention to: web servers, DBMS, messaging and App servers. The utility services are a platform whereby platform services, commodity servers, and operating system will be looked into. Storage whereby management of data will be addressed and the archiving of the same, its recovery and back up are also being addressed. Network and Facility are equally being addressed. Five strategic themes are expected to be monitored continuously throughout the life of the programme. The themes to be addressed will be how the programme will go about to standardise, virtualise, automate, commodity and green services of the services of its clients. The Aureola programme is quite demanding and I believe that the senior operations programme manager John B is up to the task. The following sections will describe his management skills which has made it possible for the programme to move this far.
The manager’s skill in planning
Pakhare (2010) has described planning as the base function of management. It forms the foundation of running a project of any kind. It is very important to set out a plan for any project because it will act as the guidance and show any possible problems which are likely to crop up in the course of implementing the project (Pakhare, 2010). From the experience that I have gathered working under John, I believe that strategic planning is vital as it sets out the road map for achieving the project goals. I have been able to appreciate that planning when carrying out a project help to reveal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that a project will likely face when being implemented.
Before the Aureola programme was launched, John engaged us in an extensive planning for the launching of the programme. I should note that before we started planning, John had initiated a study in 2008 which showed the extra costs which were being incurred by business. Based on the findings of the study in 2008, we started planning for the Aureola programme. The plan was that the programme should address the inefficiencies revealed by the 2008 study. Through planning we were able to partition the programme into strategic themes and utility services. I found out that John was a good planner and the planning we carried out helped a lot in identifying strengths of the program.
Planning made it possible for us to know what was expected from standardisation, virtualisation, data & data migration, automation and locations. This was quite important as it made it possible for the next stage of organization. By making use of charts and graphs, the difference that the programme would create came out clearly. For instance through calculation we were able to see that the Aureola program would use less energy making it ‘greener’ than what was previously used. Through planning it was also possible to identify areas which require reinforcements.
Working with John, we were able to forecast how the program will run up to 2014. In this plan minute details of the contributions made by various units of the programme are shown. This will be of significant in future as it will help to show areas of deviation for correctional purposes. In short I have come to appreciate in practice the significance of planning. Working under John on the Aureola programme I have seen why planning is regarded as the foundation for any project.
The manager’s skill in organizing
Having planned how the project will run and what was expected of each constituent of the programme, the senior manager got engaged in organizing how this would be conducted. Organization in the context of project management means “to organize all resources well before in hand to put into practice the course of action to decide that has been planned in the base function” (Pakheri 1). Organization makes it possible for an organization to allocate duties and organize how the programme will be launched smoothly. Organization also puts measures in place for the purpose of trouble shooting in case of any unforeseen problems which may arise.
In order to accomplish the goals of the Aureola programme, John has carried out an extensive organization to help in achieving the goals. In ensuring that the programme succeeds John has organized the team working on the project into various divisions. The senior manager will act as the interface between the clients/business and the team. He is responsible for describing what is expected of the programme and will give directions in case there is an issue of non standard items.
The tasks have been sectioned into various groups and different groups given parts of the program to trouble shoot. For instance, it has been organized that the solution architect will collaborate with the infrastructure group to help in seeing that information is captured as expected in the Engagement Request portal. An Aureola Utility Service Group (AUSG) has been set up to assist in troubleshooting incidents. The manager has also put in place various procedures for the many trouble shooting procedures of any incident likely to occur.
In general, John has carried out an extensive organization of the team working under him. The organization he has made is mainly meant to ensure that any issue which may crop up is effectively dealt with. There are also guides which are meant to give directions for smooth running of the programme. Organization has made it possible to avoid confusion when running the implementation of the Aureola programme. The clients are able to get directions on issues that they do not understand.
Once more, I have been able to appreciate the significance of organization in carrying out a project. Pakhare (2010) argued that organization helps to harmonise the team working on a project and make it work efficiently towards achieving the goals of a project. This has been seen to work efficiently with the Aureola programme through the organization which has been made. It should be noted that the organization process is still on as the project is being implemented but what is being done is just to complement what has already been laid down as the foundation.
The manager’s skill in leading (directing) people
Pakhare (2010) identified directing as another important aspect of the managing a project. Directing people makes it possible for a team leader to control and supervise the activities of the team members. The significance of controlling the team in a project management is that the team leader gets to channel the efforts of the team members to the right course for the achievement of the project goals. Leading people in a project team calls for good skills in interpersonal relations. A leader who is capable of communicating well with the members will likely inspire them to perform beyond expectations. Good directions make it possible for the vision of leaders to be passed down to the other members working on the project (Project Smart, 2010).
John has displayed exemplary characters in leading. He has been able to direct the team working on the Aureole programme in a very effective way. I have noticed that John has some kind of charisma which draws people to him. He has used this charisma well to inspire the team members to tenaciously work on the programme. He is a good communicator and has been able to pass messages across right from the very launching of the programme. I remember he took his time to explain to every member of the project team about the project. He showed us the potential of the project and indicated how the work could be accomplished.
The thorough explanation that he gave out and the benefits that are expected to be accrued from the project inspired the team members. It is very interesting because every member working on this programme has taken the pain to ensure that the project is going to succeed as it is being implemented. John has taken a very keen interest in every division working on this programme. This has seen him make constant consultation with the various members working on the programme and make adjustments as is necessary.
The directing skills of John are displayed in the programme structure that he came up with. In this programme structure he has allocated various duties to different people who work independently but as a group. In the programme structure there 13 people who are coordinating to see that the Aureola programme succeeds and achieves the goals it was created to achieve. John being the team leader is responsible for giving directions. In case of a business encountering any problem with the programme, John gives the direction to the person who can help in troubleshooting the same. It should be noted that there is a guide meant to give directions such that one will get to contact John when something is not clear from the guide.
As I noted above, John is good at communicating. On several occasion this has worked out well for him when interacting with the various people in charge of the Aureola programme. He has been able to give directions effectively due to his ability to pass messages across in a cordial and respectful way. The clients are requested to get in touch with the Aureola programme members in case of suggestions they wish to make on the programme. John is quite approachable and has a result it has been possible for many the programme members to discuss with him the directives that he gives out. Such discussions have always yielded good results leading to improvement of the programme as a whole.
The Manager’s Skill in Controlling
Control involves the establishment of the performance standards. The performance standards are based on the objectives of the company. Controlling involves comparing the differences between the actual performance and the expected performance. Controlling therefore makes it possible for remedial measures to be taken to ensure at the end, the programme or project worked on achieves the set objectives in the plan. The Standards which were set by John on how the Aureola programme should be run have been met so far.
I tend to think that this is because John as an individual has taken a personal interest in meeting the high standards in his duties and thus the other members also tend to maintain the high standards in their work. John had also involved the members in planning the programme standards and took that chance to explain the benefit of keeping the standards of the programme high. The programme has not registered any serious deviation from the standards which were established during the planning period. Since the programme is still at the initial stages no much deviation is expected. As a precaution, John has purposed to analyse the performance of the program monthly.
Working as the assistant project coordinator of John in the programme Aureola at the Thomson Reuters’ Markets Technology Operations has given me a chance to see management skills at work. John is a talented manager who is quite good at balancing all skills of management. It is quite hard to precisely point out the skill which comes clearly out as he balances them in a manner that makes it possible for him to fit in all situations.
The time I spent with him I knew him as a planner. John is a firm believer in plans and does not get to execute any duty without first planning how to go about executing it. His plans are always comprehensive and take care of everything including the unexpected. This makes him always prepared and I have rarely seen him being caught off guard. I must confess that this is one of the reasons that the programme Aureola has done so well. The comprehensive plan that was developed for the programme incorporated great deal of details. This was quite instrumental in preparing the team and avoiding surprises which could put the programme down.
As Pakhare (2010) had argued that planning forms the foundation of a project, I saw this happening with the Aureola programme. I am keen on developing the character of planning as I view it to be the most important. Without a plan then a project cannot be executed. If a project is based on a shaky plan then the project is likely to fail. An excellent plan for a project can be viewed as project already started. If the team members are to strictly adhere to the plan of a project then the chances of the project succeeding are very high. This is why I see planning to be quite important in project work.
Aureola program PPP. (2010). Aureola Project – An Introduction.
Datamonitor. (2010). Thomson Reuters Corporation. Web.
Pakhare, J. (2010). Management Concepts – The Four Functions of Management. Web.
Project Smart. (2010). Programme Management. Web.
Thomas Reuters. (2010). Thomson Reuters is the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Web.