The project sponsor should formally appoint a project manager as early as possible, before the initiation phase of the project, and not leave the project until after the it has begun. For most projects it is unlikely that the project manager will be someone who works for the company. The longer it takes to appoint a project manager to a project, the more likely the chances are of having schedule slippage problems. The reasoning is that most project managers are brought on board too late, and they require some time to become familiar with the technical and project requirements. This setback impedes the entire effort. So many projects start without any formal project process or involvement of a project manager. The reason is that these types of projects are started by either the marketing or business departments within organizations.
Appointing project managers is extremely difficult; one manager is, simply put, more productive than the others, and it is extremely difficult to tell them apart just by looking at an impressive resume. I therefore have learned that when it comes to hiring a project manager, an employer cannot take a resume too seriously. A company can only learn the value of the project manager once he or she has started the actual project, as the talents lie in the day to day project management. But when selecting project managers, an employer often does not have that kind of luxury. In lieu of personal knowledge about a project manager's skills, prospective employers should focus on the job candidate's most recent project responsibilities, techniques, and methods. Often, asking the candidate to respond to a hypothetical scene is a good way to determine the candidate's suitability as a project manager (e.g., requesting that a candidate illustrate the methods and techniques that he or she uses on a project). Additionally, good candidates would be able to market themselves better by describing the value they would bring to the organization. Some of the key factors in identifying a suitable project manager are
• Ensuring that the individual can sustain the role of project manager throughout the project life cycle
• Gaining support from other departments or managers in selecting the individual
• Ensuring that the individual has the appropriate skillsets and knowledge
I clearly recall a troublesome project at a Fortune 50 client, who had appointed the wrong project manager to lead the project. The immediate results were rosy, but they resulted in a project that was eighteen months behind schedule, over budget by $250,000, had ineffective documentation, and had a baseline that gave a new meaning to the word "flexible." The project was an utter failure, and the individual was merely reassigned to another department. After reviewing the project results, it was decided that success could have been achieved, had the correct project manager been assigned to the helm (see Figure 2.2).
Problem solving skills
Problem solving skills
Team player skills
Team player skills
Strong admin Knowledge oi PM
Figure 2.2: Skills needed by project managers
For about three years as a project manager, I failed to listen to my team members and came across as arrogant. The one thing I learned from experience is that right action gets right results and wrong action gets wrong results. This kept driving me compulsively to consider what attributes I needed to possess if I ever was going to be an outstanding project manager.
Project management, as a profession, has changed through the years and has produced many good project managers who have risen to higher levels, consulted world-wide, and often started their own organizations due to their broader understanding of business principles. Within the project management profession, a manager quickly becomes well-known in a very short period of time; clients identify those project managers who are good and those who cannot perform well (see Figure 2.3). The following personal attributes demonstrate the profile of a good project manager:
• Problem solver
• Able to gain the respect of the team
• An effective communicator
• Capable of reacting dynamically and making decisions quickly
• Considered a professional
• Knowledgeable about project management
Project steering committee
Review business strategy
Interview project managers
1. Kick-oft Meeting
2. Review concept and provide input from all departments
1. Fits into strategy
1. By similarity
2. By skill type
3. Time to market
5. Estimated cost
5. Rates & benefits
6. Managerial ability
Figure 2.3: Understanding the need for good project candidates
Project management consultants are normally distinguishable from other company managers by the following attributes:
1. Reputation. The project manager is well-known by name in his or her industry and is often called upon to deliver papers, case studies, and new concepts to this audience.
2. Experience. The project manager has sufficient experience and has completed many projects.
3. Leadership. The project manager possesses the necessary leadership skills to lead people.
4. Presentation skills. The project manager has the ability to communicate on all levels in order to inform about project status.
5. Expertise. A project manager is normally employed because he or she is an expert on the subject and can speak with confidence on any project discipline.
6. Professionalism. The project manager, who belongs to reputable project organizations, abides by a code of ethics specifically designed for the project profession, thus ensuring that clients, organizations, and society are able to entrust project managers with their daily duties.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.