Special Topics

Introduction

Some situations or special topics could be discussed in every chapter. However, since most of the special topics span several chapters, the information is condensed here for the sake of clarity. The special topics include:

• Rewards and evaluation

• Managing small projects

• Managing mega projects

• R&D project management

• Ethics in project management

Performance Measurement on the Horizontal Line

When functional employees are assigned to a new project, their first concern is that their functional manager be informed when they have performed well on their new assignment. A good project manager will make it immediately clear to all new functional employees that if they perform well in the project, then he (the project manager) will inform the functional manager of their progress and achievements. This assumes that the functional manager is not providing close supervision over the functional employees and is, instead, passing on some of the responsibility to the project manager—a common situation in project management organization structures. Obviously, if the functional manager has a small span of control and/or sufficient time for closely monitoring the work of his subordinates, then the project manager's need for indirect reward power is minimal.

Many good projects as well as project management structures have failed because of the inability of the system to evaluate properly the functional employee's performance. This problem is, unfortunately, one of the most often overlooked trouble spots in project management.

In a project management structure, there are basically six ways that a functional employee can be evaluated on a project:

• The project manager prepares a written, confidential evaluation and gives it to the junctional manager. The functional manager will evaluate the validity of the project manager's comments and prepare his own evaluation. Only the line manager's evaluation is shown to the employee. The use of confidential forms is not preferred because, first, it may be contrary to government regulations, and, second, it does not provide the necessary feedback for an employee to improve.

• The project manager prepares a nonconfidential evaluation and gives it to the junctional manager. The functional manager prepares his own evaluation form and shows both evaluations to the functional employee. This is the technique preferred by most project and functional managers. However, there are several major difficulties with this technique. If the functional employee is an average or below-average worker, and if this employee is still to be assigned to this project after his evaluation, then the project manager might rate the employee as above average simply to prevent any sabotage or bad feelings downstream. In this situation, the functional manager might want a confidential evaluation instead, knowing that the functional employee will see both evaluation forms. Functional employees tend to blame the project manager if they receive a below-average merit pay increase, but give credit to the functional manager if the increase is above average. The best bet here is for the project manager periodically to tell the functional employees how well they are doing, and to give them an honest appraisal. Several companies that use this technique allow the project manager to show the form to the line manager first (to avoid conflict later) and then show it to the employee.

• The project manager provides the functional manager with an oral evaluation of the employee's performance. Although this technique is commonly used, most functional managers prefer documentation on employee progress. Again, lack of feedback may prevent the employee from improving.

• The functional manager makes the entire evaluation without any input from the project manager. In order for this technique to be effective, the functional manager must have sufficient time to supervise each subordinate's performance on a continual basis. Unfortunately, most functional managers do not have this luxury because of their broad span of control and must therefore rely heavily on the project manager's input.

• The project manager makes the entire evaluation for the functional manager. This technique can work if the functional employee spends 100 percent of his time on one project, or if he is physically located at a remote site where he cannot be observed by his functional manager.

• All project and functional managers jointly evaluate all project functional employees at the same time. This technique should be limited to small companies with fewer than fifty or so employees; otherwise the evaluation process might be time-consuming for key personnel. A bad evaluation will be known by everyone.

In five of the six techniques, the project manager has either a direct or an indirect input into the employee's evaluation process.

Since most project managers prefer written, nonconfidential evaluations, we must determine what the evaluation forms look like and when the functional employee will be evaluated. The indirect evaluation process will be time-consuming. This is of paramount importance on large projects where the project manager may have as many as 200 part-time functional employees assigned to his activities.

The evaluation forms can be filled out either when the employee is up for evaluation or after the project is completed. If the evaluation form is to be filled out when the employee is eligible for promotion or a merit increase, then the project manager should be willing to give an honest appraisal of the employee's performance. Of course, the project manager should not fill out the evaluation form if he has not had sufficient time to observe the employee at work.

The evaluation form can be filled out at the termination of the project. This, however, may produce a problem in that the project may end the month after the employee is considered for promotion. The advantage of this technique is that the project manager may have been able to find sufficient time both to observe the employee in action and to see the output.

Figure 8-1 represents, in a humorous way, how project personnel perceive the evaluation form. Unfortunately, the evaluation process is very serious and can easily have a severe impact on an individual's career path with the company even though the final evaluation rests with the functional manager.

Figure 8-2 shows a simple type of evaluation form on which the project manager identifies the best description of the employee's performance. The project manager may or may not make additional comments. This type of form is generally used whenever the employee is up for evaluation, provided that the project manager has had sufficient time to observe the employee's performance.

Figure 8-3 shows another typical form that can be used to evaluate an employee. In each category, the employee is rated on a subjective scale. In order to minimize time and paperwork, it is also possible to have a single evaluation form at project termination for evaluation of all employees. This is shown in Figure 8-4. All employees are rated in each category on a scale of 1 to 5. Totals are obtained to provide a relative comparison of employees.

PERFORMANCE FACTORS

EXCELLENT (1 OUT OF 15}

VERY GOOD (3 OUT OF 15}

GOOD (a OUT OF 15}

PAIR (2 OUT OF 15}

UN SATIS FACTO Fi (1 OUT OF 15}

far exceeds job requirements

exceeds job rfqdiremfnts

meets job requirements!

needs some improvement

00 es not mef" minimum standards

QUALITY

leaps tall buildings with a single bound

must take running start to l ear over tall building

can only leap over a short building or medium one without spif1ls

crashes into building

cannot recognize buildings

LLI Z _l HI £ P

is faster than a speeding bdllet

is as fast as a speeding bullet

not quite as fast as a speeding bullet

would vou relieve a slow bullet?

wounds himsel with the bulle

INITtATlVE

is stronger than a locomotive

is stronger than a bull elephant

is stronger than a bull

shoots the bull

smells like a bull

a ■i

wai KS on water CONSlSl ently

walks on water in emergencies

washes with water

drinks water

passes water j emergencies

p u

talks with god

talks with angels

talks to himself

argues with himself

loses the argument witi himself

Figure 8-1. Guide to performance appraisal.

Figure 8-1. Guide to performance appraisal.

Obviously, evaluation forms such as that shown in Figure 8-4 have severe limitations, as a one-to-on comparison of all project functional personnel is of little value if the employees are from different departments. How can a project engineer be compared to a cost accountant? If the project engineer receives a total score of 40 and the cost accountant receives a score of 30, does this mean that the pro engineer is of more value or a better employee? Employees should have the right to challenge any ite: a nonconfidential evaluation form.

Several companies are using this form by assigning coefficients of importance to each topic. For exar under a topic of technical judgment, the project engineer might have a coefficient of importance of 0.' whereas the cost accountant's coefficient might be 0.25. These coefficients could be reversed for a top cost consciousness. Unfortunately, such comparisons have questionable validity, and this type of evaluation form is usually of a confidential nature.

Even though the project manager fills out an evaluation form, there is no guarantee that the functional manager will believe the project manager's evaluation. There are always situations in which the proje and functional managers disagree as to either quality or direction of work. This disagreement can easi alienate the project manager enough that he will recommend a poor evaluation regardless of how well employee has performed. If a functional employee

employee's name

date

project title

job number

lmplûyel assignment

employee's total time to date on project

employee's remaining 1ime on prqje

TECHNICAL JUDGEMENT:

n Quickly reaches sound conclusions

TECHNICAL JUDGEMENT:

n Quickly reaches sound conclusions

WORK PLANNING

COMMUNICATIONS:

□ Always understands instructions ATTITUDE.

n Always jct>

interested

COOPERATION: CD Always enthusiastic

WORK HAS ITS:

□ Always projEcl oriented

ADDITION Aï. COMMENTS:

Figure 8-2. Project work assignment appraisal.

spends most of his time working alone, the project manager may give an average evaluation even if tl employee's performance is superb. Also, the project manager may know the employee personally and allow personal feelings to influence his decision.

Another problem may exist in the situation where the project manager is a "generalist," say at a grade level, and requests that the functional manager assign his best employee to the project. The functiona manager agrees to the request and assigns his best employee, a grade-10 specialist. One solution to th problem is to have the project manager evaluate the expert only in certain categories such as communications, work habits, and problem-solving, but not in the area of his technical expertise. The functional manager might be the only person qualified to evaluate functional personnel on technical abilities and expertise.

As a final note, it is sometimes argued that functional employees should have some sort of indirect in into a project manager's evaluation. This raises rather

EMPLOYEE'S NAlUfF

DATE

PROJECT TITLE

JOB NUMBEH

EMPLOYEE ASSIGNMENT

EMPLOYEE'S TOTAL T>ME ID DAT E ON PROJECT

EMPLOY ILL'S REMAINING TIM1 OK PRO J Li

EXCELLENT

ABOVE AVERAGE

s cl

<t u cp

INADEQUATE

TECHNICAL JUDGEMENT

WORK PLANNING

COMMUNICATIONS

ATTITUDE

COOPERATION

WQRK HABITS

PROFIT CONTRIBUTION

Figure 8-3. Project work assignment appraisal.

interesting questions as to how far we can go with the indirect evaluation procedure.

From a top-management perspective, the indirect evaluation process brings with it several headaches. Wage and salary administrators readily accept the necessity for using different evaluation forms for white-collar and blue-collar workers. But now, we have a situation in which there can be more than o type of evaluation system for white-collar workers alone. Those employees who work in project-drive functional departments will be evaluated directly and indirectly, but based on formal procedures. Employees who charge their time to overhead accounts and non-project-driven departments might simply be evaluated by a single, direct evaluation procedure.

Many wage and salary administrators contend that they cannot live with a white-collar evaluation sys and therefore have tried to combine the direct and indirect evaluation forms into one, as shown in Fig 8-5. Some administrators have even gone so far as to adopt a single form company-wide, regardless ( whether an individual is a white- or blue-collar worker.

The design of the employee's evaluation form depends on what evaluation method or procedure is bei used. Generally speaking, there are nine methods available for evaluating personnel:

project title

job number

employee assignment

CODE:

EXCELLENT = 5 ABOVE AVERAGE .=. 4 AVERAÜE - 3 BELOW AVERAGE = 2 INADEQUATE- 1

technical judgement

work plan ming

communications

attitude

coopehation

work habits

cl

self motivation

_j s

names

Figure 8—4. Project work assignment appraisal.

Figure 8—4. Project work assignment appraisal.

• Essay appraisal

• Graphic rating scale

• Forced-choice review

• Critical incident appraisal

• Management by objectives

• Work standards approach

• Ranking methods

• Assessment center

Descriptions of these methods can be found in almost any text on wage and salary administration. Wh method is best suited for a project-driven organizational structure? To answer this question, we must analyze the characteristics of the organizational form as well as those of the personnel who must perfi there. An an example, project management can be described as an arena of conflict. Which of the abo evaluation procedures can best be used to evaluate an employee's ability to work and progress in an atmosphere of conflict? Figure 8-6 compares the above nine evaluation procedures against the six m( common project conflicts. This type of analysis must be carried out for all variables and characteristic that describe the project management environment. Most compensation

1. NAME_ 2 DATE OF EVALUATION _

s. jos assignment_4, date of last evaluation

EMPLOYEE'S IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR _

f- supervisors level' [~"1 section j~] dept. |~| division ii. 6valuator 5 inhumation-

3. rate the employee on t me following very excellent good

ABILITY TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY WORKS WELL WITH OTHERS I. OVAL ATTITUDE TOWARD COMP AH V DOCUMENTS WDRK WELL AND IS

BOTH COST AND PFIFFT CONSCIOUS RELIABILITY TO SEE .ICE! THROUGH

AUiLITY TO ACCEPT CHITCISM

WILUNüNEÜTOWURK OVERTIME PLANS JOS EXECUTION CAREFULLY TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE COMMUNICATIVE SKILLS OVERALL BATIMG

4. RATETHE EMPLOYEE HN COMPflHISON TCWI5 CONTEMPORARIES: :

I I EXECUTIVE

' ~| executive good fair poor

4. RATETHE EMPLOYEE HN COMPflHISON TCWI5 CONTEMPORARIES: :

25%

lower 40>n

midwav

upper

upper s 5%

upper 10*

5. HAT E TH E EMPLOYEE IN COM PA RlSO N TCCHtS CONTEMPORAR IES : :

should be promoted at once

pro-motable nexttear

promotable along with contemporaries

ne eds to mature in grade

definitely not promotable

e, EVALlJATQRS COMMENTS:

e, EVALlJATQRS COMMENTS:

SIGNATURE _

III. CONCURRENCE SECTlOhf:

2. PgSmpH: Q DEPARTMENT Q DIVISION Q EXECUTIVE

3. CONCURRENCE AGREE DISAGREE

SIGNATURE

IV I'FRSQN^EL SECTION; (tobt coirokfwJüj rtïp^iinn"! Drfwlmwi onlïi

LOWER LOWER LOWER MIDWAY UPPËR UPPËIÏ UPPER

V. EMPLOYEE'S SIGNATURE: _ DATE:

Figure 8-5. Job evaluation.

« ÇL VI CL LU <

Graphic Rating Scats

Field Review

Forced-Choice Review

Critical incident

Appraisal i

< (J

Conflict over schedules

Conflict over priorities

Conflict over technical issues

Conf fict over administration

Personality conflict

Conflict over cost

Circles define flreaa where evaluation technique may he difficult tq implement,

Circles define flreaa where evaluation technique may he difficult tq implement,

Figure 8-6.

Rating evaluation techniques against types of conflict.

managers would agree that the management by objectives (MBO) technique offers the greatest promise for a fair and equitable evaluation of all employees. Although MBO implies that functional employees will have a say in establishing their own goals and objectives, this may not be the case. In project management, maybe the project manager or functional manager will set the objectives, and the functional employee will be told that he has to live with that. Obviously, there will be advantages and disadvantages to whatever evaluation procedures are finally selected.

Having identified the problems with employee evaluation in a project environment, we can now summarize the results and attempt to predict the future. Project managers must have some sort of either direct or indirect input into an employee's evaluation. Without this, project managers may find it difficult to motivate people adequately on the horizontal line. The question is, of course, how should this input take place? Most wage and salary administrators appear to be pushing for a single procedure to evaluate all white-collar employees. At the same time, however, administrators recognize the necessity for an indirect input by the project manager and, therefore, are willing to let the project and functional managers (and possibly functional personnel) determine the exact method of input, which can be different for each employee and each project. This implies that the indirect input might be oral for one employee and written for another, with both employees reporting to the functional manager. Although this technique may seem confusing, it may be the only viable alternative for the future.

Sometimes, project management can create severe evaluation problems. As an example, Gary has been assigned as a part-time assistant project manager. He must function as both an assistant project manager and a functional employee. In addition, Gary reports both vertically to his functional manager and horizontally to a project manager. As part of his project responsibilities, Gary must integrate activities between his department and two other departments within his division.

His responsibilities also include writing a nonconfidential performance evaluation for all functional employees from all three departments who are assigned to his project. Can Gary effectively and honestly evaluate functional employees in his own department, people with whom he will be working side by side when the project is over? The answer to this question is no; the project manager should come to the rescue. If Gary were the project manager instead of the assistant project manager, then the line manager should come to his rescue.

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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