FIGURE 4-7. Exempt, upper-level pay structure.

Line managers often argue that they cannot perform their managerial duties and control these "prima donnas" who earn more money and have a higher pay grade than the line managers. That is faulty reasoning. Every time the consultants do something well, it reflects on the entire line organization, not merely on themselves.

The concept of having functional employees with a higher pay grade than the line manager can also be applied to the horizontal project. It is possible for a junior project manager suddenly to find that the line managers have a higher pay grade than the project manager. It is also possible for assistant project managers (as project engineers) to have a higher pay grade than the project manager. Project management is designed to put together the best mix of people to achieve the objective. If this best mix requires that a grade 7 report to a grade 9 (on a "temporary" project), then so be it. Executives should not let salaries, and pay grades, stand in the way of constructing a good project organization.

Another major concern is the relationship that exists between project office personnel and functional managers. In many organizations, membership in the project office is considered to be more important than in the functional department. Functional members have a ten dency to resent an individual who has just been promoted out of a functional department and into project management. Killian has described ways of resolving potential conflicts14:

It must be kept in mind that veteran functional managers cannot be expected to accept direction readily from some lesser executive who is suddenly labelled a Project Manager. Management can avoid this problem by:

• Selecting a man who already has a high position of responsibility or placing him high enough in the organization.

• Assigning him a title as important-sounding as those of functional managers.

• Supporting him in his dealings with functional managers.

If the Project Manager is expected to exercise project control over the functional departments, then he must report to the same level as the departments, or higher.

Executives can severely hinder project managers by limiting their authority to select and organize (when necessary) a project office and team. According to Cleland15:

His [project manager's] staff should be qualified to provide personal administrative and technical support. He should have sufficient authority to increase or decrease his staff as necessary throughout the life of the project. The authorization should include selective augmentation for varying periods of time from the supporting functional areas.

Many executives have a misconception concerning the makeup and usefulness of the project office. People who work in the project office should be individuals whose first concern is project management, not the enhancement of their technical expertise. It is almost impossible for individuals to perform for any extended period of time in the project office without becoming cross-trained in a second or third project office function. For example, the project manager for cost could acquire enough expertise eventually to act as the assistant to the assistant project manager for procurement. This technique of project office cross-training is an excellent mechanism for creating good project managers.

We have mentioned two important facts concerning the project management staffing process:

• The individual who aspires to become a project manager must be willing to give up technical expertise and become a generalist.

• Individuals can be qualified to be promoted vertically but not horizontally.

Once an employee has demonstrated the necessary attributes to be a good project manager, there are three ways the individual can become a project manager or part of the project office. The executive can:

• Promote the individual in salary and grade and transfer him into project management.

14. William P. Killian, "Project Management—Future Organizational Concept," Marquette Business Review, 1971, pp. 90-107.

15. David I. Cleland, "Why Project Management?" Reprinted with permission from Business Horizons, Winter 1964, p. 85. Copyright © 1964 by the Board of Trustees at Indiana University.

• Laterally transfer the individual into project management without any salary or grade increase. If, after three to six months, the employee demonstrates that he can perform, he will receive an appropriate salary and grade increase.

• Give the employee a small salary increase without any grade increase or a grade increase without any salary increase, with the stipulation that additional awards will be forthcoming after the observation period, assuming that the employee can handle the position.

Many executives believe in the philosophy that once an individual enters the world of project management, there are only two places to go: up in the organization or out the door. If an individual is given a promotion and pay increase and is placed in project management and fails, his salary may not be compatible with that of his previous line organization, and now there is no place for him to go. Most executives, and employees, prefer the second method because it actually provides some protection for the employee.

Many companies don't realize until it is too late that promotions to project management may be based on a different set of criteria from promotions to line management. Promotions on the horizontal line are strongly based on communicative skills, whereas line management promotions are based on technical skills.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment