Google Program Manager Reviews | Glassdoor

Google Program Manager Reviews

Updated April 16, 2017
109 reviews

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Program Manager

4.6
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Pros
Cons
  • Work life balance is often mentioned but rarely (in 270 reviews)

  • Google is a big company with a lot of insider technologies; don't expect to know it all from day one (in 231 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Program Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA

    I have been working at Google full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great Salary, Great Benefits, Free Food! Management really cares; Google really cares about their employees. Interview processes ensure that only the best people are hired.

    Cons

    There really are not many. The company has a start-up mentality so things are always changing. You must be comfortable with constantly changing priorities and reorganization.


  2. Helpful (1554)

    "Moving at the speed of light, burn out is inevitable"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Google full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    1) Food, food, food. 15+ cafes on main campus (MTV) alone. Mini-kitchens, snacks, drinks, free breakfast/lunch/dinner, all day, errr'day.

    2) Benefits/perks. Free 24:7 gym access (on MTV campus). Free (self service) laundry (washer/dryer) available. Bowling alley. Volley ball pit. Custom-built and exclusive employee use only outdoor sport park (MTV). Free health/fitness assessments. Dog-friendly. Etc. etc. etc.

    3) Compensation. In ~2010 or 2011, Google updated its compensation packages so that they were more competitive.

    4) For the size of the organization (30K+), it has remained relatively innovative, nimble, and fast-paced and open with communication but, that is definitely changing (for the worse).

    5) With so many departments, focus areas, and products, *in theory*, you should have plenty of opportunity to grow your career (horizontally or vertically). In practice, not true.

    6) You get to work with some of the brightest, most innovative and hard-working/diligent minds in the industry. There's a "con" to that, too (see below).

    Cons

    1) Work/life balance. What balance? All those perks and benefits are an illusion. They keep you at work and they help you to be more productive. I've never met anybody at Google who actually time off on weekends or on vacations. You may not hear management say, "You have to work on weekends/vacations" but, they set the culture by doing so - and it inevitably trickles down. I don't know if Google inadvertently hires the work-a-holics or if they create work-a-holics in us. Regardless, I have seen way too many of the following: marriages fall apart, colleagues choosing work and projects over family, colleagues getting physically sick and ill because of stress, colleagues crying while at work because of the stress, colleagues shooting out emails at midnight, 1am, 2am, 3am. It is absolutely ridiculous and something needs to change.

    2) Poor management. I think the issue is that, a majority of people love Google because they get to work on interesting technical problems - and these are the people that see little value in learning how to develop emotional intelligence. Perhaps they enjoy technical problems because people are too "difficult." People are promoted into management positions - not because they actually know how to lead/manage, but because they happen to be smart or because there is no other path to grow into. So there is a layer of intelligent individuals who are horrible managers and leaders. Yet, there is no value system to actually do anything about that because "emotional intelligence" or "adaptive leadership" are not taken seriously.

    3) Jerks. Sure, there are a lot of brilliant people - but, sadly, there are also a lot of jerks (and, many times, they are one and the same). Years ago, that wasn't the case. I don't know if the pool of candidates is getting smaller, or maybe all the folks with great personalities cashed out and left, or maybe people are getting burned out and it's wearing on their personality and patience. I've heard stories of managers straight-up cussing out their employees and intimidating/scaring their employees into compliance.

    4) It's a giant company now and, inevitably, it has become slower moving and is now layered with process and bureaucracy. So many political battles, empire building, territory grabbing. Google says, "Don't be evil." But, that practice doesn't seem to be put into place when it comes to internal practices. :(

    Advice to Management

    1) Don't dismiss emotional intelligence and adaptive leadership. They're not just catch phases. You need great managers and leaders in order to build great companies and develop great employees. The people who may be brilliant at solving technical issues may not be (and are most often, not) the best candidates for management.

    2) Do something about that work-ife balance. Don't just have a bunch of pow-wows and tech talks and discussions about it. Leadership should actually model it. Consider re-evaluating how work is done; what processes are in place that are inefficient and ineffective and need to be updated or removed?

    3) Don't forget that there is already a pool of incredibly talented people within the company. If career development is really a goal at Google, then do it. Don't just hire from the outside. Take the time to help your employees develop their careers - then maybe you won't lose some of the great ones, and maybe you'll have prevent some of that burn out and disillusionment.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Technical Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Google full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Perks on campus and products we get to work on are awesome, but the people are the best part.

    Cons

    Lots of bureaucracy and your experience can vary depending on what organization you are.


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  5. "Great Company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Google full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Awesome culture! I love my colleagues, smart, competent and self managing. Great benefits and wonderful free food.

    Cons

    The company doesn't focus on organization processes. It's not very lean.


  6. "Great"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Program Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Google full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits
    Smart people
    Easy to move around location and positions
    Lots of great perks

    Cons

    Very few downsides to working at google. I guess the worst thing I could say is that we sometimes have an identity crisis coming from a start up and entrepreneurial culture and trying to reconcile that with being so big.

    Advice to Management

    Keep us small and start-up like and not to bureaucratic


  7. "Production Data Center Program Management Group"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Program Manager Senior Coordinator in Mountain View, CA
    Current Contractor - Program Manager Senior Coordinator in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Google as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Fast pace, a lot of technology changes, and a very dynamic team environment.

    Cons

    Uses a lot of temp, vendor, contractor for extended period of time. Lack of justifiable headcount.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "It keeps getting bigger and bigger"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Current Contractor - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Google as a contractor (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Perks : snacks, gym, laundry, etc.
    Access to technology and people

    Cons

    Still trying to be a small company but too big to be one.
    Elitism is alive and well in many of the organizations.
    Biased hiring process.

    Advice to Management

    If someone has been doing the job for 3 years as a contractor, but you hire someone fresh out of Ivy league instead of converting them, don't be surprised when the new hire takes a long time to ramp up and the the contractor walks.


  9. "Agile Program Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Agile Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Agile Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Google full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Everything you've ever heard about employee pampering at Google is true, or at least it was when I was there. Food's everywhere both in micro-kitchens and awesome cafes. There is, or at least was, a culture of openness around code and planning documents.

    Cons

    Google likes to pride itself on being a "not terribly hierarchical company," but it's the most hierarchical company I've ever worked at. I was seven layers of managers below the CEO. Also, personnel not on the Technical ladder tend to be treated like lepers.

    Advice to Management

    Unify the planning process, pronto. OKRs are too vague to be useful.


  10. "Sr Program Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Google full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    great company to work for. Company values are outstanding, good work life balance

    Cons

    corporate environment due to the organisation being so large


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Is this Google or IBM?"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Google full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The food, the food, the food. We are incredibly spoiled on the Mountain View Campus. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. This is a benefit that all humans take advantage of. In addition to this, the other benefits are no industry secret, on campus laundry rooms, lots of gyms, cars on demand in case you have to drive during the day, the list goes on.

    Cons

    The promotion process is very arduous. It literally costs Google two months of productivity every year for every people manager. It is insanity. As a manager, its very important to prioritize "perf", as you do not want to be the reason your report does not get promoted. This results in two stressful months per year where its very difficult to focus on getting work done.

    I will say that Google tends to promote the right people - there are very few false positives, there are many false negatives. Not sure this is worse than manager centric review structures where one person controls your destiny, but there are definitely room for improvements.

    Other big complaint: this place is starting to really limit risk. Emerging and experimental projects are increasingly being canceled in favor of revenue generating projects. Google is no longer the place for experimentation, that happens in other parts of alphabet.

    Being in the Apps PA, there is a laundry list of B2B features that all apps are being asked to implement. This leaves little room for innovation and creativity, its just about execution. The apps are tools for sales to land cloud and productivity suite contracts.

    Advice to Management

    Have fun with the pivot. Its clear to more and more employees that this is not the Google of 10 years ago, or even three years ago.