I first became exposed to the role of program manager when I was working in France. At that point in my career, I had worked as a software engineer, product manager, and technical support engineer and also spoke both French and English. I was asked to take on the role of technical program manager that required me to guide the delivery of product features from initiation to launch, collaborating as needed across product areas, functions, and regions. It was a perfect blend of my skill sets. When you have a room full of people each with their own motivations and differing views about how to approach a problem, it’s helpful to know what is motivating that product manager, or what the engineering lead is thinking, as I did, when you’re trying to get people aligned and moving in the same direction. I always encourage people to be open to considering other roles to get that first-hand experience. It’s not required to be a successful program manager but it sure helps.