by Jim Vaughan

How to Hire the Right Project Managers. (part 6 of 6)

Sep 01, 2009
IT Leadership

How to know you are getting the whole package whe hiring project managers.

Here I would like to provide a more concise summary of my thoughts on hiring or recruiting the right project managers. For more details on each of these areas you can reference my previous posts on this topic.

1)    Hire a certified project management professional. Am I saying that anyone that does not possess this certification cannot be effective at managing projects? Absolutely not! In fact I know many people that are not certified that can manage projects quite well. But I believe possessing the certification does tell you two things about the person. First that they understand the mechanics of project management. Second is that, for the most part, they are serious about wanting to be a project manager. That is, they have the heart and soul to be a project manager.

2)    Once you know that the person has the desire and basic technical knowledge of project management then you will need to know how well they work with others. The best project managers have strong interpersonal skills and can work with people at all level, I like to say from the janitor to the CEO. Projects do not get done by project plans and governance policies, they are done by people. A good project manager must be able to work with and motivate the team members in order for the project to achieve a higher level of success.

3)    Project managers must be leaders. Project managers must be bold, willing to take chances and accountability for their actions which in turn is accountability of the project. They must work in such a way that they create a desire in others to follow them. You are only a leader if there are others that are following you.

4)    Finally you will want to find someone that has experience. Here I caution you to make sure that this is project management experience, not technical expertise. The person must be able to organize work, create a work flow and know how to track the work in order to provide value.

Those are the four key attributes that I believe are the foundation of a high value project manager. As the leader of the organization you must enable the project manager to work effectively. So here are a few tips for you.

1)    Allow the project manager to run the project. If you have hired they right person you must depend on their qualifications to effectively manage the project. Do not give in to the whims of your functional managers and technical experts. They are not experts at running projects.

2)    If you are going to create a PMO or governance organization to support the project management function, do it with the right people. Again you will want to find strong project managers to perform these functions. These people will provide governance that works in the real world not just on paper. With the wrong people in these roles you will create governance, process and procedures that will hinder the progress of your project.

I hope you have found these perspective interesting whether you agree with them or not. I welcome comments, especially alternative views or enhancements and things I might have missed. I look forward to your feedback.