The Best Way to Select a Project Manager

How do you determine if a specific individual will be the best project manager to hire?

Sadly, the path of project management hires seems a dismal never-ending road to oblivion based upon all the failure represented by the project management industy. How do you turn that around?

Mistake:

You choose to hire a SME (Subject Matter Expert) of a worker in the industry your project relates to.

For example, you are designing and building a corporate website. You discover a software development lead who convinces you he really managed a number of website development projects because he/she was the lead developer and directed others in building the website. This makes sense to you – so you hire him/her.

Why is this a problem?

It’s a problem because:

  • The software developer may have no understand about how to determine requirements. The lead just thinks about what he/she would put into it – and away it goes!
  • The organization has a budget and schedule that comes off the top of the head of the developer since you actually need requirements and proper estimating techniques such as a WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) or how to do network diagrams, etc. This person certainly has no clue what to put as a budget – except perhaps the salaries of the team and how long he/she guessed the project would take.
  • There seems to be endless bickering on the team as developers disagree on approaches combined with the fact that developers prefer to converse with a computer rather than a person in many cases – so people skills might not be at the highest level.
  • Monitoring is a horrible experience! In my experience, if you ask a developer what percentage complete they are with an assignment, if it wasn’t even looked, the answer is “50%.“  If the assignment was read, it’s 75% done, and the work was started the work – it’s 90%. Also, developers have an innate belief in themselves which means they rarely plan on re-work because of course everything they try will work the first time.
  • How does this person communicate with stakeholders when they were most likely only considered in passing?

The ultimate result is, the organization gets a product that doesn’t fit their needs for more money than they ever expected! Then the blame game begins to see why the organization failed miserably ONE MORE TIME!

SOLUTION:

Hire a project management SME! This person doesn’t have to understand coding, but know how to UTILIZE SMEs. This person is capable of:

  • Understanding precisely how to generate requirements through stakeholders then use the team to estimate, build a precise budget and schedule and monitor effectively.
  • The organization gets what it wanted for the amount of money and time agreed to.

WHY do so few organizations understand this?

Oh, right… they didn’t utilize those with Pinnacle Project Strategist Certification.

When I interview project managers, I of course ask questions that go to their process of developing a budget, schedule and for monitoring. Then risk, contracts, etc. – BUT… I do it in a clever way.

I tell the interviewing project manager that they have 60 minutes to answer 10 questions and finish with enough time to ask question. How in-depth their answers are must be gauged with finishing within the 60 minutes.

I begin the interviews that way because I will truly get a sense for their ability to use time wisely.