Hiring a great project manager can really improve your company’s ability to get things done. However, finding a right project manager is often like trying to find a needle in a haystack. In order for things to work, you need to find a project manager who has the experience, skills, management ability and cultural fit to really take your team to the next level.
So how do you find such a manager?
==> Get Clear on What The Qualifications Are
Be very clear about what kind of person you need to hire. For example, let’s say you’re hiring a project manager for software development.
If that’s the case, you’ll need to find someone who can interface with developers, but can also speak to clients and investors.
You need someone who understands the intricacies of different programming methods and philosophies, but someone who’s also competent in project management techniques and software.
==> Review Previous Experiences
Once you have a job listing posted, you’ll quickly start to receive resumes. When you’re looking through these resumes, the #1 thing you want to look for are experiences that are similar to the projects you’re trying to tackle.
If you’re addresses software issues that deal with programmers, clients and investors, you’ll want to hire someone who’s had that kind of experience. If you’re developing in Agile, you’ll want someone who’s familiar with Agile methodology.
The precise programming language, the product or the project itself isn’t what’s important. What’s important is whether or not the challenges and skills were similar.
==> Interviewing Potential Project Managers
What kinds of questions should you ask a potential project manager?
First of all, try and get a sense for the scope of the teams they’ve managed. If they’ve managed a project with one team member (themself,) chances are you don’t want to hire them. It’s not uncommon for project managers to try and over-represent the kinds of teams they’ve co-ordinated.
Ask them how they’ve handled problems in previous projects. Try and get a sense for how they handle pressure.
Ask about the different project management methodologies they’ve implemented in the past. Talk about how they manage people and how they make sure things get done in time.
Try and get a sense for the person’s personality. Are they the kind of person who can get things done, or do they need a lot of hand holding? Would this person fit in your corporate culture? Would people feel good people led by this person?
Hiring a great project manager involves finding someone who has both project management skills, as well as skills in the specific department you’re looking to manage. A great technical project manager doesn’t need to be able to program; but they do need to be able to explain needs to and understand problems presented by developers.