The role of project management has been in existence for thousands of years. In order to foresee, plan, execute, and complete a specific task, engineers and architects were once primary in handling this responsibility. It was not until the 1960s that a basic outline was created for various industries to follow in creating the most favorable and cost-saving plans for new projects. Classes then followed, with earned degrees in critical area management and problem solving criteria. Unfortunately, project management has also become a new buzz word in the business arena and many pumped-up CEOs do not look close enough in their choice for the most promising candidate.
Warning Signs of a Bad Project Manager
Not every person has what it takes to become a project manager. Whether hiring from within, or selecting a well-educated individual, a project can be doomed from the start if any of these signs are present.
1. Not a People Person. It doesn't matter how smart a project manager is, if they lack the ability to communicate well with others, the guidance and management of a project, is out the window. It is said that 50% of all project management duties rely on the close direction of procedure and accuracy. If a project manager prefers to stay holed up in an office, without regular interaction with employees, big mistakes could be taking place.
2. Not Knowing the Industry. Every industry has their own unique pattern of how everything fits together to provide the final product or service. These can include codes, jargon, software, and equations in processing. For example, considering an employee that has a background in planning and overseeing a rooftop garden, may not be the right balance for adding a new line in a paint processing plant. There are just too many variables that need to be learned before the job is started.
3. Grand Ideas but Few Results. Anyone can talk the talk, but being able to walk the walk, is quite a different matter. Many employers base their interviews for project managers on a winning smile and confident nature. These traits are fine for hiring in sales, but not for implementing a new program. Selling grand ideas is much easier than delivering results. If you fail to talk with past employers and specifically, ask about organization and planning skills, you have no one to blame but yourself when that winning smile weaves into chaos.
4. High Salary Demands. Graduates of higher learning in project management, often have an unrealistic view of the real world of business. They see a looming college grant and want to put their new skills into action to start repaying, as soon as possible. But without the experience to back them up, they cannot expect to start at the top. If you see potential in a college graduate, place this individual in a small position for 90 days, where you can monitor the progress yourself. Only then can you witness how they can really perform for your project management needs. Chances are, they will be the one to admit that they were not prepared for such a high-paying position.
5. No Common Sense. This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are lots of people that cannot put principles into practice due to some sort of common sense brain block. This is not to say that this employee would not be an asset in a data entry position, but keep them away from big project, decision-making positions. A plan may look good on paper, but will soon turn disasterous when common sense is needed. Unexpected human elements, lack of foresight in future problems, and uncontrollable situations, can leave you having to step in and resolve.
Let us say that none of these steps were taken into consideration upon hiring a new project manager. You wish to grow your business by adding on a transportation department, using independent trucking firms. While this may sound like a feasible idea for providing a better service to customers, the intricate details may not be apparent in the beginning. A bad project manager will not see all the roadblocks that are headed your way. Liability of product, interstate taxes, dispatching, and carrier contracts, are a few of the areas that can make expenses soar. Without a good project manager, just one of these areas can lead a business into lawsuits and bankruptcy, overnight.
If you have ideas for growing new departments in your business, adding space onto an existing building, or creating a tighter, more profitable company, project managers can be a real blessing. However, do not think that this is a simple job that anyone can handle. Too many employers have relied on inexperienced, incapable, and overpaid project managers that promise to deliver, just to find themselves in an unbelievable mess. You are putting your trust, and money, into a person that has nothing to lose, if things go wrong. Take this new position in earnest and do your homework before putting your business in the path of potential disaster.