Before you start the project manager recruitment process…
Many people make the mistake of jumping into the project manager recruitment process as soon as the vacancy for a Project Manager arises. My advice is to take this as an opportunity to assess the role and its importance to the organisation before you finalise the job description.
Firstly, examine the reasons why the vacancy has arisen – expansion, replacing a staff member who will be returning or replacing someone who has resigned. Exit interviews are often a useful way of gaining insights but beware of any unfounded opinions or bias. Concentrate on uncovering any detailed aspects of the role that you may not be familiar with.
Next, ask yourself some key questions which will help to position the role both now and in the future:
- What’s the specific purpose of the role?
- What value does the role add to the team and the organisation?
- Is the role changing or is it likely to change in the future?
- Are there any planned strategic or tactical changes which would impact on the role?
Going through this assessment before starting the project manager recruitment process will help to ensure that the role is aligned with your real business needs and confirms the validity of the role and the value it adds to the organisation.
Finally, plan the recruitment process from start to finish in a structured way. Establish a timetable for the search process, the 1st and 2nd round of interviews and allow time for testing & candidate screening before making a decision. This means that everyone involved can be given a template of how the recruitment process will proceed.
The more clarity you have about the role the greater the chances of recruiting the perfect project manager who can meet your specific needs.
For more guidance read our
Insiders guide to Project Manager Recruitment
Insider’s guide to Project Manager Recruitment with lots of practical, usable advice from an expert with 16 years experience in recruitment and 25 years in project management. You can request your copy here
Organisations are using projects to deliver their business goals but failing to invest in the project management and change leadership skills required to ensure success
Project Management needs to be a core competency if you are to deliver projects and escape the current malaise of project failure which remains rooted at 75% of projects failing to meet their objectives.
Education is not enough
Many organisations believe they can create competent Project Managers by sending them on a PRINCEII course and assigning them a project. This approach is not working. Large sums of money are being allocated to training which is proving to be little more than education. It is providing the candidate with an understanding of the subject matter but is not giving them the skills required to execute a project. The net outcome of this approach is the pupil returns from the course with a knowledge set which they are unable to apply. The knowledge is lost and the course material is placed upon a shelf. However the organizational imperative of a successful implementation of a business change is not fulfilled either. At the end of the year both the employees and the organisation‘s score cards are evaluated and both are seen to be lacking. Thereby continuing the downward spiral of mediocrity.
Taking a different approach
Breaking out of the spiral requires a different approach which models the approach taken when learning to drive a car. This is a two stage process where the candidate learns the Highway Code and is assessed for the theory test where they learn how to conduct themselves on the road and the expected behaviour of both themselves and other drivers. To re-enforce the learning they have a qualified instructor who has a dual control car which enables them to master the basics of controlling the car. Once they have passed the theory test the candidate develops more skills and increases they understanding and skills though practice and guidance.
The same approach needs to be taken by organisations that are developing project management capability. There needs to be an element of theory where the prospective Project Managers are taught the rudiments of Change Management together with the techniques connected within managing a project.
Recommendations for Effective Training
blucone recommends a different approach which builds upon the driving school approach with a blend of theory (education) and on the job training together with the creation of the organisational structures which will lead to successful project delivery. Correctly executed this will lead to the creation of Project Management as a core competency that can be used repeatedly to deliver successful change.
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Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) said “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” It was in the context of taxes that I was reading the FT supplement on Indirect Tax which has become popular as Governments seek to raise additional revenue to combat shrinking economies and the inability to raise direct taxation. The amounts raised by indirect tax are huge they now make up about 75% of all taxes remitted by business Globally.
Robert Langham of Philip Morris makes a very interesting point “ With VAT, a company typically pays input tax on purchases, then simply subtracts it from the output taxes it collects from customers before remitting the difference to the tax authorities, but there is a huge administrative burden, much more so than corporate income tax. Also because these taxes don’t show up in that bottom line tax number, they’re generally hidden from the business – if the input tax is not recovered, then it effectively becomes part of the cost of goods sold or the cost of doing business”
Two statistics from the above translated for me into the Project Management domain the first was the 75% figure, which despite the investment in project management, still represents the percentage projects that fail to match the objectives set. The second was the implication of failure to recover input tax translated to a cost of doing business. For those projects that don’t meet their objectives.
Unlike the failure to recover input tax, where the cost is quantifiable; the project dimension is hidden in small amounts of additional headcount, performing tasks to complete activities that should have been automated. Reduced customer satisfaction, as the customer journey is continuously compromised due to a poorly designed customer interface. The list of project compromises is endless a frequent frustration to the Operational teams as they are managing the cost of doing business.
The Programme Management learning I took from the article was to focus upon the small details in a project whereby a failed or compromised deliverable will have over the long term a huge detrimental impact on a business’ operational performance which will become part of the cost of doing business. Once the compromise has been made it is very difficult to irradiate the resulting impact.
“Portfolio management is a discipline whose time has come” says Nigel Smith; Chief Executive of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is his foreword to the OGC’s recent book ‘An Executive Guide to Portfolio Management’
This view is supported by recent reports from leading research companies Forrester & Gartner which clearly shows a rapidly growing adoption of Project Portfolio Management (PPM) as a critical success factor for project based organisations. Continue reading
Reading the newspaper this week I was struck by the Collations desire to use the now retiring Baby boomers wealth (accumulated assets) to pay for their medical care. This made me realise there is a wealth of knowledge embedded in the baby boomers which is also retiring. Many of these people have held senior posts and migrated towards project management as the vehicle through which they can apply their skills. Given their capital wealth these individuals have been willing to work at fee rates which have not increased since the mid 90’s the next generation is not only asset poor but experience deprived too. Continue reading
My wife gave me a Kindle for Christmas. One of the first books I downloaded was Brian Tracy’s ‘Eat That Frog’ in an effort to get more done in 2011. In his book Brian talks about how he struggled in his early days to be successful in sales until he did two things that changed his life.
First, he asked himself a question “Why is it that other people are doing better than I am?” A great question and proof that if you want a better answer then the key is to ask a better question. But Tracy then went a vital step further; he began to ask successful people what they were doing that enabled them to be more productive and earn more money. And he became successful himself by copying and applying their successful practices to get the same results. This is a simple but brilliant approach that can be applied in all areas including project management. Continue reading
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to an organisation that is going though a transformation in their business model. Continue reading
Thanks for visiting our brand new blog. This blog is for senior executives, such as CEO’s, CIO’s, CFO’s or IS / IT executives, who are in any way concerned with the delivery of successful projects, programmes and portfolio’s within their organisation.
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