5

Within our organization, from time to time, we need to promote a person to become a Project Manager / Project Leader / Team Leader. The promotion used to be done based on someone's intuition or opinion, like:

  • This guy is communicative, he'll manage,
  • This guy has 'people skills', he'll manage.

We've changed that approach by introducing "internal PM school". That is the background. Now, here is the problem:

How do we evaluate their skills after such internal training? I can imagine that it is quite easy for hard skills (risk management, planning, etc.), but what about the soft skills?

  • How can you evaluate which candidate can handle stressful situations better?
  • Which candidate can communicate with clients better?
  • Which candidate can build a real team from a bunch of people?

The main question is this: Are there any strict pass / fail criteria for PM recruitment?

8

What if you gave each 'candidate' a smaller project to manage as a 'test drive'? As they gain experience it is easier to assess how good they are at the job.

Or take an even more radical approach: Why not try taking turns on being project manager within the team? That way all team members start acquiring skills and you are never short of a person who can manage a project.

I have used this approach in two different companies with about a dozen different teams. The results are very encouraging. Of course, you wouldn't have the biggest project being managed by the person fresh from university and who joined you just yesterday. On the other hand, I have had graduates (first year after they left university) manage small projects (2 to 4 people for up to 3 month) and it was amazing to see how well they did.

3

Instead of thinking about project management as an actual position, think of it as a role. Many organizations have goals they want to meet that don't necessarily involve needing to hire a full time person yet still need someone to own the process and see things through, which includes planning, communication, and other project management tasks.

When the project is completed, things return to normal, except now you know more about your pool of possible full time, "official" project managers, if that's really what you need.

  • @jmort253 - pooling resources to meet specific objectives throws also very good results. Additionally you get all team members motivated and in constant development – M0N4K0 Jan 25 '12 at 22:31

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