Right Project Manager Profile
It’s important to get the right project manager profile for your project.
Not all good programmers or good analysts become good Project Managers. It is in fact a very different skill from either of these.
How do we know who will become good Project Managers? One of the crucial skills needed is leadership. Leaders, in real life, tend to evolve rather than being an appointee.
How often do we see leaders of countries who are an appointee of their predecessor, being swept aside after the ‘great leader’ has gone.
Also there are some people who make a habit of succeeding in life and those who make a habit of failing. If one tennis player usually loses to another player, then, when he or she is losing again, he or she will take no great steps to reverse this.
When it comes to the time when the one who usually wins is behind, he or she puts great mental and physical effort into reversing this situation. They just ‘can’t let it happen’, and it usually doesn’t.
Right Project Manager Profile – Natural Leaders
Picking natural leaders, who don’t let bad things happen, and who can right bad situations when they do happen, is crucial. This type of person usually has a positive attitude. They are keen to insert the kind of processes into the software development lifecycle which will help him or her succeed.
Also, on a project, when reverses happen, as they invariably will, they have the self will and belief to set it right. Those who are not used to winning, as in life they are used to this situation, will spend their effort not in clearing up the mess but in justifying themselves and in making sure the blame does not attach itself to them.
You need people will grow in a crisis not shrink.
Category 4 Minks
Some time back, in the UK, the Animal Liberation Movement, set free a number of minks from a mink farm. Some of the minks, who they bred in captivity, remained in their cages even when the doors were open.
Others stayed out for a while but came back at feeding time.
Still others stayed out but could not adapt to the wild and were either killed or died of starvation.
Others however stayed, adapted to the wild and thrived in their new environment.
Try thinking of you employees and fellow workers and which categories that they would fit into.
Select your Project Managers only from the ‘category 4 minks’.
Do not confuse them with the ‘category 3 minks’ who are usually loose canons. Do not worry if they are relatively junior. Double or triple promote then if you have to. Appreciate, also, that the ‘category 4 minks’ are the ones most likely to leave your organisation.
Those are the ones that you most want to stay. If you are not sure which of your people fit into each category, then give them opportunities in small tasks or projects. Let them substitute for other people when they are off, and see which ones grab the opportunity.
Promote the Leader from Within
If you promote the leader from within the ranks, you will find problems with those that they have leapfrogged on the way up. These problems come from people who want to remain at the company, but who assumed that, in the natural order of things, that their turn for promotion will come soon.
Many of these people are good analysts or programmers that you would wish to keep at the company. You need to be able to manage this or you’ll be left with good leaders but fewer good technical workers and especially fewer people with good knowledge of your systems.
How do you handle this?
By having different ways of progressing up the company. Very often people mainly want promotions because of the extra status and income attached to it. You must find other ways of giving them this status and income if they achieve good results.
However, you want to keep all your good people at the company, in whatever role at which they are best. You may have to pay to do this, but it will be worth it to have a department stacked with highly competent people in their areas of expertise.
Do not make the mistake, though, of promoting good analysts and developers to be Project Managers if they do not have the leadership and organisational qualities to do the job.
If you do, it may cost you your job!
It’s crucial to get the right project manager profile.
For more great project management advice click on Project Management.
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