No one graduates from school with a degree in Alliance Management and most of us have found ourselves in the profession quite by accident.  I’ve asked people how they have come into the profession and there is quite  a spectrum.  Many come from technical or scientific disciplines when products are created through a collaboration of different companies.  Some come from the sales organization with an alliance has a market-facing role of driving new business.

I had the opportunity to speak with alliance managers from Proctor and Gamble and many of them came from HR.  This made sense within their company context. At the time they were trying to transform the company business model to one where 50% of the new products came from outside of the company from partners..  They approached this transformation from a organizational development perspective in having to retrain and some cases ‘retire’ those people who could not make the transition.

I came into alliances from product management where I discovered I needed partners to bring a more complete product to market and help develop new markets for my product.

Unfortunately many of us also learned alliance management through trial and error as well.

That does not have to be case anymore.  Alliance management is becoming a codified management discipline with a competency model, certifications and education that can help those who find themselves in the role to acquire the knowledge and develop the skills to be successful.  There is also opportunities to learn from peers.  The  Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals Silicon Valley and the Northern California Biopharmaceutical Project Management  are hosting a panel of alliance management veterans to share their experiences of managing alliances and creating value through the life stages of drug development.

Check it out: