A project manager is a title spanning across various industries, such as technology, architecture, and even construction. Lots of business owners and employees see similar companies hiring for this role, but many may want to know more about what the value add might be. Project managers bring organization to a team that otherwise struggles to stay on task and meet deadlines consistently. This can apply to teams large or small, and even can span departments.
Signs that your company may need a project manager:
- Employees having a hard time keeping track of what is on their plate
- Deadlines being missed on a somewhat consistent basis
- Internal disagreements over priority of work
- Issues with finding/keeping track of completed work
- Clients, other team members, and other departments “in the dark” on statuses of projects
- The key to finding and hiring a good project manager for any business is to ensure that the person has the following qualities:
- Highly organized
- Able to stop and change gears “on a dime”
- Can manage others effectively
- Builds solid relationships with clients and team members
Finding Fabulous Project Managers – Three High Level Tips
1. Chemistry is Key
As a project manager, I never fail to support and drive my team. If a project manager doesn’t have a solid relationship with the people doing the project work, the projects will suffer – either in quality, budget, or time to completion. The better connection the PM makes with the team members, the better the work will be. Make sure if you hire for this role, you introduce the candidates to the people they will be working with at the very least. If you can, include them in the interview process. The interaction and chemistry is extremely important.
2. The old adage “Time is Money”
Every single deadline that slips can cost you, and working smarter not harder is a necessity. Make sure the PM you are looking to hire has methods to evaluate how to cut down on time spent, without losing quality. The first thing I assess when I join any new team is how time is being used. The biggest culprit: Unnecessary meetings. In my most recent position, daily stand-ups were held in addition to daily scrum meetings. I cut the scrums from 5 times per week to twice a week, and added in one meeting per week for product, marketing, and design to meet to get their goals aligned for upcoming work. This freed up 3 hours of time per week, across 3 developers, one database architect and 3 engineers, for a grand total of 21 hours per week freed up, and could be used for work on the projects.
3. Seeking the Right Tools to Prepare Your Team to Succeed
There are many useful tools out there to help organize workloads, remind yourself of deadline countdowns, share progress statuses, and so on. I have my personal favorites, but they are tailored to the tech industry, so I will talk about what’s important for finding the best tool for whatever umbrella your potential PM may fall under. First, never start with cost. Start with a list of what may work best for organization of the work. Do you need a tool that allows collaboration inside of it? Does it need to integrate with an existing platform, or be as user-friendly as possible? Create a list of “must haves, nice to haves, and cherry on top.” Start searching for all the programs that meet the must haves, then see what’s affordable. If none of them meet your budgeting goals, see if the program has a way to remove some of the “nice to haves” to reduce cost, either by limiting the amount of users, data stored, or removing some of the bells and whistles that may not be needed.
All mentioned above are great starting points for you to determine whether or not hiring a Project Manager would be right for the company you’re at. Have a discussion with your team to see what their thoughts are on adding this extremely valuable position!