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The basics of project management recruitment

Reiner Poynton
March 16, 2011

Corporations the world over are always seeking to increase corporate value. Change and project management are key variables in the equation for increasing corporate returns. Business today is changing faster than ever before and with it comes numerous challenges, particularly for the people needed to navigate the business successfully.

With the rapid changes in consumer behaviour and competition, enterprises need to be nimble and adapt quickly to the market’s need for change. This is where the value of the project management profession comes to the forefront. The question is whether all organisations recognise and understand the value that the right project management practitioner can bring when dealing with change. Get the right project manager and the effect of change can multiply corporate value.

Understanding project management

The term ‘project manager’ has and is still used too liberally by people with limited knowledge of the profession. The term means different things to different people based on their experience. For many organisations, this may have been a negative experience with someone who did not deliver according to their expectations. The professional project manager is someone with diverse project experience who keeps up to date with the latest techniques and methodologies, and generally makes a positive contribution to the profession by mentoring and supporting other aspiring project managers.

The project manager’s key value to an organisation is integrating all the activities that make up the project, and managing them successfully. Not many projects have a clear path it needs to take to achieve the desired change and resulting outcomes for the organisation.

Project managers have the ability to decipher vague concepts or ideas and drive for clarity, engage with stakeholders at all levels of the organisation and externally where necessary and develop a scope and eventually a detailed plan including a budget of what actions and stages or steps are required to meet the objectives of the project. This is the ideal approach; the reality is many project managers are not given the opportunity to do the upfront preparation and therefore may not fully appreciate the issues of the project. This is often the case when the project management resource is a contractor versus a member of staff.

Given that project management creates value for organisations through change, it makes sense for organisations to keep successful project managers for the long haul. The project manager motivated by challenges and learning has the potential to be redeployed in a large organisation and is quickly able to adapt to the change. He or she can effectively become a floating resource to the organisation when there are peaks and troughs in project work in different departments of the organisation all pursuing increased value in a structured way.

The process of finding the right project management professional today is deeply entwined with the recruitment industry as few organisations undertake the task themselves. Unfortunately, with online application systems it is now near impossible for a project management candidate to speak with someone regarding the details of any role. It becomes imperative that the recruiters and the organisation are aligned in what is needed for a particular role and that it is well articulated in writing.

Reiner Poynton
Reiner Poynton is the founder and director of DENKHART, a Divison of Professional PM Services. DENKHART is a recruitment and professional services agency specialising in project and program management.
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