Job Classifications and Job Descriptions

Every effort should be made to fit the new classifications for project personnel into the existing standard classification that has already been established for the organization.

The first step is to define job titles for various project personnel and their corresponding responsibilities. Titles are very noteworthy. They imply certain re-

TABLE 8-1. SAMPLE JOB DESCRIPTION

Job Description: Lead Project Engineer of Processor Development

Overall Responsibility

Responsible for directing the technical development of the new Central Processor including managing the technical personnel assigned to this development. The Lead Project Engineer has dual responsibility, (1) to his/her functional superior for the technical implementation and engineering quality and (2) to the project manager for managing the development within the established budget and schedule.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities

1. Provide necessary program direction for planning, organizing, developing and integrating the engineering effort, including establishing the specific objectives, schedules and budgets for the processor subsystem.

2. Provide technical leadership for analyzing and establishing requirements, preliminary designing, designing, prototyping and testing of the processor subsystem.

3. Divide the work into discrete and clearly definable tasks. Assign tasks to technical personnel within the Lead Engineer's area of responsibility and other organizational units.

4. Define, negotiate and allocate budgets and schedules according to the specific tasks and overall program requirements.

5. Measure and control cost, schedule and technical performance against program plan.

6. Report deviations from program plan to program office.

7. Replan trade-off and redirect the development effort in case of contingencies such as to best utilize the available resources toward the overall program objectives.

8. Plan, maintain and utilize engineering facilities to meet the long-range program requirements. Qualifications

1. Strong technical background in state-of-the-art central processor development.

2. Prior task management experience with proven record for effective cost and schedule control of multi-disciplinary technology -based task in excess of SIM.

3. Personal skills to lead, direct and motivate senior engineering personnel.

4. Excellent communication skills, both orally and in writing.

sponsibilities, position power, organizational status, and pay level. Furthermore, titles may indicate certain functional responsibilities, as does, for example, the title of task manager.1 Therefore, titles should be carefully selected and each of them supported by a formal job description.

The job description provides the basic charter for the job and the individual in charge of it. Therefore, the job description should be written not just for one individual but more generically for all individuals who fit the respective job classification. A good job description is brief and concise, not exceeding one page. Typically, it is broken down into three sections: (1) overall responsibilities, (2) specific duties, and (3) qualifications. A sample job description is given in Table 8-1.

1 In most organizations the title of task manager indicates being responsible for managing the technical content of a project subsystem within a functional unit, having dual accountabilities to the functional superior and the project office.

Base-Pay Classifications and Incentives

After the job descriptions have been developed, one can delineate pay classes consistent with the responsibilities and accountabilities for business results. If left to the personnel specialist, these pay scales often have a tendency to slip toward the lower end of an equitable compensation. This is understandable because, on the surface, project positions look less senior than their functional counterparts, as formal authority over resources and direct reports are often less necessary for project positions than for traditional functional positions. The impact of such a skewed compensation system is that the project organization will attract less qualified personnel than the functional units. Moreover, project management may be seen as an inferior career that at best may serve as a stepping stone for getting into functional management.

Many companies that have struggled with this problem have solved it by (1) working out compensation schemes as a team of senior managers and personnel specialists, and (2) applying criteria of responsibility and business/profit accountability to setting pay scales for project personnel in accord with other jobs in their organization. Once the proper range of compensation has been set, fine-tuning is a built-in feature. That is, managers who are hiring can choose a salary from the established range based on their judgment of actual position responsibilities, the candidate's qualifications, the available budget, and other considerations. Valuable guidance and perspective can be obtained from the personnel specialist.

Performance Appraisals

Traditionally, the purpose of the performance appraisal is to:

• Assess the employee's work performance, preferably against preestablished objectives

• Provide a justification for salary actions

• Establish new goals and objectives for the next review period

• Identify and deal with work-related problems

• Serve as a basis for career discussions

In reality, however, the first two objectives are in conflict. As a result, traditional performance appraisals essentially become a salary discussion with the objective to justify subsequent managerial actions.2 In addition, discussions dominated by salary actions are usually not conducive for future goal setting, problem-solving, or career planning.

In order to get around this dilemma, many companies have separated the salary discussion from the other parts of the performance appraisal. Moreover, successful managers have carefully considered the complex issues involved and

2 For detailed discussions, see The Conference Board, Matrix Organizations of Complex Businesses 1979; plus some basic research by H. H. Meyer, E. Kay, and J. R. P. French, "Split Roles in Performance Appraisal," Harvard Business Review, January-February 1965.

have built a performance appraisal system solidly based on content, measurability, and source of information.

The first challenge is in content, that is, to decide "what to review" and "how to measure performance." Modern management practices try to individualize accountability as much as possible. Furthermore, subsequent incentive or merit increases are tied to profit performance. Although most companies apply these principles to their project organizations, they do it with a great deal of skepticism. Practices are often modified to assure balance and equity for jointly performed responsibilities. A similar dilemma exists in the area of profit accountability. The comment of a project manager at the General Electric Company is typical of the situation faced by business managers: "Although I am responsible for business results of a large program, I really can't control more than 20 percent of its cost." Acknowledging the realities, organizations are measuring performance of their project managers, in at least two areas:

• Business results as measured by profits, contribution margin, return on investment, new business, and income; also, on-time delivery, meeting contractual requirements, and within-budget performance.

• Managerial performance as measured by overall project management effectiveness, organization, direction and leadership, and team performance.

The first area applies only if the project manager is indeed responsible for business results such as contractual performance or new business acquisitions. Many project managers work with company-internal sponsors, such as a company-internal new product development or a feasibility study. In these cases, producing the results within agreed-on schedule and budget constraints becomes the primary measure of performance. The second area is clearly more difficult to assess. Moreover, if handled improperly, it will lead to manipulation and game playing. Table 8-2 provides some specific measures of project management performance. Whether the sponsor is company-internal or external, project managers are usually being assessed on how long it took to organize the team, whether the project is moving along according to agreed-on schedules and budgets, and how closely they meet the global goals and objectives set by their superiors.

On the other side of the project organization, resource managers or project personnel are being assessed primarily on their ability to direct the implementation of a specific project subsystem:

• Technical implementation as measured against requirements, quality, schedules, and cost targets

• Team performance as measured by ability to staff, build an effective task group, interface with other groups, and integrate among various functions

Specific performance measures are shown in Table 8-3. In addition, the actual project performance of both project managers and their resource personnel should

TABLE 8-2. PERFORMANCE MEASURES FOR PROJECT MANAGERS

Who Performs Appraisal Functional superior of project manager

Source of Performance Data Functional superior, resource managers, general managers

Primary Measures

1. Project manager's success in leading the project toward preestablished global objectives

• Key milestones

• Profit, net income, return on investment, contribution margin

• Technical accomplishments

• Market measures, new business, follow-on contract

2. Project manager's effectiveness in overall project direction and leadership during all phases, including establishing:

• Objectives and customer requirements

• Budgets and schedules

• Performance measures and controls

• Reporting and review system

Secondary Measuresw

1. Ability to utilize organizational resources

• Overhead cost reduction

• Working with existing personnel

• Cost-effective make -buy decisions

2. Ability to build effective project team

• Project staffing

• Interfunctional communications

• Low team conflict complaints and hassles

• Professionally satisfied team members

• Work with support groups

3. Effective project planning and plan implementation

• Plan detail and measurability

• Commitment by key personnel and management

• Management involvement

• Contingency provisions

• Reports and reviews

4. Customer/client satisfaction

• Perception of overall project performance by sponsor

• Communications, liaison

• Responsiveness to changes

5. Participation in business management

• Keeping mangement informed of new project/product/business opportunities

• Bid proposal work

• Business planning, policy development

Additional Considerations

1. Difficulty of tasks involved

• Technical tasks

• Administrative and orgnizational complexity

• Multidisciplinary nature

• Staffing and start-up

(Continues)

(Continued)

TABLE 8-2. PERFORMANCE MEASURES FOR PROJECT MANAGERS

2. Scope of the project

• Total project budget

• Number of personnel involved

• Number of organizations and subcontractors involved

3. Changing work environment

• Nature and degree of customer changes and redirections

• Contingencies be assessed on the conditions under which it was achieved: the degree of task difficulty, complexity, size, changes, and general business conditions.

Finally, one needs to decide who is to perform the performance appraisal and to make the salary adjustment. Where dual accountabilities are involved, good practices call for inputs from both bosses. Such a situation could exist for project managers who report functionally to one superior but are also accountable for specific business results to another person. While dual accountability of project managers is an exception for most organizations, it is common for project resource personnel who are responsible to their functional superior for the quality of the work and to their project manager for meeting the requirements within budget and schedule. Moreover, resource personnel may be shared among many projects. Only the functional or resource manager can judge overall performance of resource personnel.

Merit Increases and Bonuses

Professionals have come to expect merit increases as a reward for a job well done. However, under inflationary conditions, which we have experienced for many years, pay adjustments seldom keep up with cost-of-living increases. To deal with this salary compression and to give incentive for management performance, companies have introduced bonuses uniformly to all components of their organizations. The problem is that these standard plans for merit increases and bonuses are based on individual accountability while project personnel work in teams with shared accountabilities, responsibilities, and controls. It is usually very difficult to credit project success or failure to a single individual or a small group.

Most managers with these dilemmas have turned to the traditional remedy of the performance appraisal. If done well, the appraisal should provide particular measures of job performance that assess the level and magnitude at which the individual has contributed to the success of the project, including the managerial performance and team performance components. Therefore, a properly designed and executed performance appraisal that includes input from all accountable management elements, and the basic agreement of the employee with the conclusions, is a sound basis for future salary reviews. Often more important than the actual increase is the size of the salary adjustment relative to that of other employees. Equitable pay for performance and position is crucial to employee morale and satisfactory productivity, a very important area that deserves careful management attention.

TABLE 8-3. PERFORMANCE MEASURES FOR PROJECT PERSONNEL

Who Performs Appraisal Functional superior of project person

Source of Performance Data Project manager and resource managers

Primary Measures

1. Success in directing the agreed-on task toward completion

• Technical implementation according to requirements

• Key milestones/schedules

• Target costs, design-to-cost

• Innovation

2. Effectiveness as a team member or team leader

• Building effective task team

• Working together with others, participation, involvement

• Interfacing with support organizations and subcontractors

• Interfunctional coordination

• Getting along with others

• Change orientation

• Making commitments

Secondary Measures

1. Success and effectiveness in performing functional tasks in addition to project work in accordance with functional charter

• Special assignments

• Advancing technology

• Developing organization

• Resource planning

• Functional direction and leadership

2. Administrative support services

• Reports and reviews

• Special task forces and committees

• Project planning

• Procedure development

3. New business development

• Bid proposal support

• Customer presentations

4. Professional development

• Keeping abreast in professional field

• Publications

• Liaison with society, vendors, customers, and educational institutions

Additional Considerations

1. Difficulty of tasks involved

• Technical challenges

• State-of-the-art considerations

• Changes and contingencies

2. Managerial responsibilities

• Task leader for number of project personnel

• Multi -functional integration

• Budget responsibility

• Staffing responsibility

• Specific accountabilities 3. Multi-project involvement

• Number of different projects

• Number and magnitude of functional task and duties

• Overall workload

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.

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