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How To Find The Right Project Manager

Many of us can relate to the arduous task of finding a Project Manager - but having a designation does not necessarily mean you have found the perfect candidate.

Years ago, during my time as an instructor for a Project Management course, and I met “John” (not his real name), one of my students. John was fresh out of college, and new to his organization who sent him to get a PM designation so he could project manage a tool migration for the organization. When I asked John if he was concerned about  the responsibility of managing his first project, his response was, “I was sent on the course, how could I say no?”. 

A designation does not always equal success for organizations. As project complexity increases (like the migration project referenced earlier) and they become more inter-dependant, Project Managers will require a broader skill set. The Project Management Institute wrote an article earlier this year highlighting an increased demand for soft skills such as:

  • Communication - capability to effectively address the needs of the project team, executive and business leaders
  • Leadership - skills and competencies
  • Mentorship - using past experiences to teach, and encourage growth in others
  • Strategic Management - understanding the “big picture”
  • Remote team building and management - in this time of pandemic reality it is the “new normal” of how we do business

I had the pleasure of staying in contact with John for several years after our initial meeting.  He did undertake his very first project after receiving the training, but it turns out that the project did not end successfully.  There was an immense amount of scope creep that occurred and at the time, he was ill prepared to deal with the onset of the complexities that ensued. 

Reflecting back on this project and what could have been done differently, John said: "I would have been more successful with some practical direction to help me apply the theory I learned. Having a mentor would have been so beneficial.”

I’m sure all Project Managers can relate to his situation as most of us had steep learning curves in the beginning of our careers.

In my experience, service providers who offer a well rounded portfolio of services tend to attract a higher calibre people with a more experience. They will take a holistic view of the project managers’ skill set, looking at everything from designations, previous practical experience, leadership skills and compatibility to our organizations culture.  Within my own organization, Solvera Solutions, this is the recipe we follow to attract premium Project Managers to successfully support our clients’ projects.  In addition, we have a well established Community of Interest (COI) for our project managers to share this experience and support each other in order to deliver high value solutions to our clients.

Learn more about Solvera’s project management services.

About the author:

Michael is a highly accomplished technology executive with 25 years of project management and consulting experience in the Insurance, Healthcare, Financial, Mining, Oil & Gas, and Government industries for such firms as Concentra, Zurich, Manulife, TSX, NYSE/SIAC, Bank of New York, DTCC (Depository Trust Clearing Corporation), TELUS, White Sands Missle Range (WSMR), USMC Alameda, Corporate Executive Board (CEB) to name a few. Michael likes to spend his leisurely time spending time with family and golfing.

For more information, connect with Solvera’s Project Management Services team, please contact us.