Blog > How to select a project manager – Shashi Consulting’s Top 11 tips for Project Directors and Business Executives

How to select a project manager – Shashi Consulting’s Top 11 tips for Project Directors and Business Executives

Yet another project gone bad. You sit at your desk and ask yourself: ‘How could I have prevented this?’. As Manager of Project Managers, Program Director, Program Manager or Business Executive, you need to be thorough and uphold specific criteria in selecting your project manager.

Selecting a bad project manager will lose you money, your reputation and your career. Selecting an outstanding project manager will earn you career progress, an excellent return on investment and happy employees looking forward achieving new goals.

Here is Shashi Consulting’s checklist how to select a project manager:

  1. Start with an understanding of why you are hiring a project manager.
  2. Check if the type of project manager you need is somebody to get things started, a person who needs to manage delivery or both.
  3. Get the best project manager in your team and let her interview the project manager with you.
  4. Let the Business Executive interview the project manager as well, if you are not the Business Executive who has to work with the project manager.
  5. Let potential team members interview the project manager. After all, the project manager needs to be able to lead and motivate them. Keep in mind that project management is a people’s business.
  6. Check for at least three references. If the project manager refuses, drop him immediately.
  7. Select for attitude, not for skills- or industry knowledge-only. Don’t be blinded by selecting only those who have experience in your industry. Project Management is a process expertise. Get fresh insights and best practices from other industries the project manager has worked in. A good project manager will be inquisitive and learn quickly how things work in your industry while delivering your project results.
  8. Check for credentials such as IPMA and PMP. These are excellent tools for assessing and measuring project managers objectively on people management and technical skills. They prove the project manager knows the necessary elements of project management.
  9. Do not be fooled by project managers only having PRINCE2 and /or MSP without IPMA or PMP. PRINCE2 and MSP are nice to haves. They don’t teach you how to motivate people, set up a budget, forecast and many other project management essentials.
  10. Do select a project manager as a strategic partner. This is the value added you’re looking for. You can check this by asking the project manager what the business benefits of his previous project results were.
  11. Respect the project manager’s expertise once you’ve hired him. Evaluate him on the results he delivers. Don’t tell him what steps he needs to take to get results. Have you ever told your surgeon to take these and these steps to get the health you need?

Please share your comments, insights and most of all best practices/ experience with what criteria you think are important to select the best project manager.

My next topic will be about how you can recognize a phony project manager and smoke them out of your organization.