Friday, June 29, 2012

Recruitment of Project Managers

One of the most important activities of Program Management is to assign Projects to Project Managers. That's why I often think about ways of recruiting people for each component. The people of Human Resources many times have told me how difficult is, for them, to find persons for this special profile. I have already made a kind of structured advice that I would like to share with whom be interested.

There are good and bad Project Managers, nobody is perfect, but you would be interested in finding the best person that your budget and circumstances allow. My advice is to put attention in three characteristics or skills:
  1. One of these skills is easy to obtain, if the candidate hasn't got this skill, he/she could quickly obtain it.
  2. The second skill is not so easy to obtain, if the candidate hasn't got this skill, he/she could slowly obtain it, as long as somebody else gives opportunities to him/her.
  3. The third skill is so difficult to obtain that if the candidate hasn't this skill, it could be almost impossible to change that fact. Don't waste your time with that candidate.
The three skills are esential part of a good Project Manager and are described as follows.

The first skill, the one that is easy to obtain, is knowledge. If you want to be a Project Manager and you don't have this skill, don't worry, it is very easy to obtain, you can learn. Many trainers are dedicated to help people like you with these themes and you can learn the basics in a short time. For the people of Human Resources, my advice is that you can train people, do never reject a good candidate because he/she hasn't had formal education in Project Management.

The second skill, the one that is very difficult to obtain, is experience. You can't quickly obtain experience. There is an intrinsic contradiction in that. You need to be dedicated, pacient and open minded to get experience. It's slow and are no much things we can do to accelerate that. There is no such a thing as a good Project Manager that has never failed in a project. You get more experience when you fail and easy success creates dangerous people. For the people of Human Resources, my advice is never hire a Project Manager that seems perfect. The best one is somebody that has made mistakes and is still learning about it. Never reject a good candidate because he/she has made mistakes.

The worst part of getting experience is the cost. Not too many organizations want to pay for the mistakes of Project Managers because it is very expensive. You can take advantage of the mistakes of Project Managers in other organizations. These other organizations have already paid the cost of the experience that you can obtain for free. Nevertheless, it is obviously a dangerous bussiness, the next asignment for that person needs to be at the level of the experience that he/she has. A huge challenge is going to burn the person. A tiny one is so boring that you are going to loose the person in the midle of the project.

The third skill, that fact that is almost impossible to change, is personality. According to many definitions, personality is something that define's you, those characteristics that comes with you since your birthday. A good Project Manager is not shy, has good communication skills, is so smart that you can't notice that, is a balanced person and strong in values. It's easy to distinguish, give this person an opportunity and she/he will become a leader. If you are not such a person, let me say that you wouldn't be easily.

The three winners are: knowledge, experience and personality, ordered from fast to slow, easy to impossible, cheap to expensive. A simple recipie for the most difficult dish that you ever have prepared.

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