Did I mention it to you before? I mean that the complexity of project management, especially the language, fascinates me?
Take for instance the concept of “scope creep”. I would call that “work cheat” because it really describes how clients try to cheat some unpaid work out of the poor service provider. But that is fodder for another post.
Just like with some business plans, I feel like I need a Masters in Finance, an Enhanced Degree in Demographics and a Black Belt in Extracting Vague and Nebulous Concepts from Pounds of Paper, just to read and understand something as simple as a job description for a Project Manager.
So you can understand my considerable personal satisfaction in breaking down complex project management concepts into simple steps that my small business clients can understand and implement.
It seems almost inevitable then, that recently, a member of an audience I was talking to should ask me, according to him, the following hypothetical question:
What do you think small business owners should look for the most when hiring a Project Manager?
The “hypothetical” nature of his question was not lost on me or the rest of the audience since it was widely known that he himself was hiring a Project Manager.
After laughing along with the rest of them, I simply answered his question in a way that made him very happy because he received sound guidance on what to look for in his new Project Manager. What did I say to him? Read on to find out.
First of all we have to consider the difference between big business and small business, as hiring a project manager goes. A big business might very well have the resources and the need to hire specialized skills to manage the various aspects of a project.
Your small business might not have that luxury or the need. Therefore, I think that you should focus on the personal skills and qualities of the candidate, since this is where you will get the best value in exchange for your money.
So here’s the list that I gave my friend in response to his “hypothetical” question and there’s a good chance that you can use it too.
Personal Skills/Qualities to look for when hiring a Project Manager
- Demonstrated ability to manage complexity. In other words, s/he can run with multiple projects simultaneously, remain calm under pressure and meet conflicting deadlines.
- Proven track record in coordinating planning activity in a business or an organization. To me this is one of the core skills of project management but I have seen its absence in Project Managers on small and large projects. Be sure to look for it when hiring a project manager.
- A history of delivery to specification, on time and within budget. Neither your budget nor your reputation can afford the luxury of cost overruns. please conduct checks to ensure that your potential project manager can deliver.
- Ability to solve problems quickly and efficiently. Some people can solve problems quickly but in the process they might employ resources as though they were unlimited. When hiring a project manager, make sure that he or she can make the best use of your resources.
- Ability to work closely with staff on all levels of the business, and with other stakeholders as necessary. This requires a high degree of self-confidence and you should try to make sure that your potential project manager has this.
- Possess excellent communication skills –written and oral and including a confident telephone manner. The ability to communicate effectively is a valuable business skill in any manager so be sure to look for it when hiring a project manager.
- Disciplined enough to work on their own, but flexible enough to function as part of a team. This is very necessary to the success of your project.
- Proven ability to contribute to strategy formulation. While she or he might have been hired to implement a particular strategy, being able to reshape that strategy or assist with the formulation of another strategy is a great asset in a small business Project Manager.
- Ability to take initiative and deliver an above average standard of service to clients – both the internal and external client.
- Is systematic and well organised with good time management skills. These are essential requirements when hiring a project manager.
Does this list seem long to you? Well, after all, you are hiring a project manager.
Moreover, you don’t have to make each one a requirement but I know it’s a good place for you to start. And if you need further help with hiring a Project Manager for your small business, just go ahead and contact me.