hiring paper tigers
So what’s wrong with hiring paper tigers?

Certain things are learned on the job. It is next to impossible to learn it from a book without doing them. For example, no amount of reading on how to drive a car will eliminate the need to sit in front of the wheel and practise. Do you wonder how to figure out if your project team is made up of experienced project managers or bookworms? Just observe and evaluate them based on the following:

Do your managers delegate?

Good managers delegate and efficiently delegate period. They know how to describe the outcome, communicate their expectations and provide accountability for the results to the team members. The art of delegation comes with experience. Many find it excruciatingly hard to delegate essential tasks. They may give others a chance, but then take the process back when it does not go according to their expectation. They complain that if it has to be done right, they must do it themselves or that it is just quicker to do it on their own.

Do they negotiate?

Experienced project managers accept that managing projects mean negotiation from beginning to end. They accordingly negotiate everything from due dates to budgets, resources, scope, requirements and to a certain extent even the definition of project success.

The quintessential bookworm manager accepts whatever is given to them and later on makes excuses when they are unable to deliver or meet the expectations.

How do they select their team?

Every book just says that a successful manager must select the right team, but none describes how. No university teaches how to assemble the right team to get the job done. Most just encourage you to work with the team that one is saddled with.

Most project managers use RACI charts to break out work needs and recruit the most qualified people into the positions as needed. Experienced project managers just go ahead and hire the smartest and most productive people they can find and find a place for them on the team. They just focus on getting the right people on the bus who as a team generally end up being lateral thinkers, versatile and cross-disciplinary.

Do they hesitate to fire a team member?

If one has been a project manager for long, then terminating someone’s employment, although the most unpleasant activity imaginable, is inevitable.

An experienced manager will be quick, objective and unemotional about it as he understands that they are not doing any favours by keeping a person in a job he is not good at.

How do they respond to change?

Finally, to evaluate a project manager, judge their attitude towards change. Agile development hinges on the philosophy of “responding to change over following a plan”. In short, things change. Priorities shift, discoveries are made, and lessons are learned. Experienced project managers understand this and do not resist change. They adapt fluidly and do what is needed.

About Imran

Imran is a Senior Project Manager – Helping Global/Pan European FTSE 500 companies deliver multi-million-pound IT Transformation Projects. Supporting high-profile and complex strategic change covering Digital and IT Infrastructure. Outside of work and since 2009, Imran has been publishing free articles to help organisations and professionals keep up to date with Project Management, Technology and Innovation trends through his blog CALLTHEPM.COM

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