The Secrets of a Highly-Performing Enterprise Delivery Team

Galen Low is joined at the table by Dharma Mehta (Director of Program Management at Roku). Dharma shares his experience as an Enterprise Program Manager in Silicon Valley’s most prominent companies. Learn the secrets to a high-performing enterprise delivery group.
Interview Highlights
Dharma Mehta is a veteran of managing complex technical programs for several of the most prominent digital companies, including Amazon, Accenture and PayPal. He is currently a Director of Roku’s Program Management. Here, he uses his business and technology background to manage high-visibility platform and corporate business initiatives at all levels. [2:45]
Dharma, who is married to his long-term partner, lives in the Bay Area, plays Cricket, and volunteers for BAPS Charities (a socio-spiritual organization that focuses on early child development). [3:08]
Dharma is part of a centralized organization that manages program management. Dharma manages two types of initiatives. 1) Corporate-wide initiatives that are initiated by the CEO and 2) Platform business initiatives. [5:43]
Dharma and his team manage a variety of projects. They work on corporate initiatives, which includes mergers and acquisitions or strategic partner integrations with other partners. [7:39]
They are responsible for supporting platform business, such as content partnerships or strategic advertising, creating robust ads product offerings, and supporting their payments platform. [8:11]
Dharma worked recently on the integration of a music provider into Roku’s ecosystem. One important skill required for this job is the ability to handle technical and non-technical conversations. [9:06]
Dharma is a technical program manager (TPM). His management style is not one-size fits all. As a TPM you want to be loved and build trusting relationships within the organization. [10:27]
Influencing without authority is an important skill that will help your success. This comes with trust.
Dharma Mehta Dharma prefers democratic management, but he can also be authoritative if necessary. [11:32]
Dharma believes that the most important qualities a program manager can bring to his team is to be able to accept ambiguity and ask the right question to guide the team in the right direction. [16:56]
You will succeed if you ask the right questions, and take one step at each time.
Dharma Mehta Leading cross-functional teams is another requirement. Part of that is not being afraid of titles. [17:47]
It is important to lead cross-functional teams that include subject matter experts in their fields.
Dharma Mehta Proactive risk management is another important skill. Program managers need to be two steps ahead of the program teams. They should not be focusing on what’s happening right now or next step. They need to be thinking about the end goal constantly and identifying risks. [18:48]
Dharma and his team may use different methods depending on what program they are working on and what problem they are solving. [21:53]
Dharma expects three things from anyone who is responsible for delivering a corporate initiative. The first is that he or she must be forward-looking. You must be able to see the end goal from two steps ahead in order to be a successful program manager. [24:50]
Communication is the second. A person who is always in touch with domain leaders and keeps up to date on what’s happening in their area. They must be able to ask the right questions in order to understand their area.