You’ve needed a Project Manager for your PMO team for nearly a year. Today you received great news. The organization has finally approved the request to bring a new PM on board!
- Add this to the bottom of your To Do list,
- Get around to hiring them eventually, or
- Immediately drop everything and don’t rest until that new PM has been hired?
Clearly, the correct answer is C. Hiring is a window of opportunity, and once you’ve been given the go ahead to add a resource, nothing is more important than preventing it from slamming shut while your fingers are on the sill. Your focus should be total, even at the risk of dropping or having to reprioritize other items you are responsible for. While it takes time to find the right person to join your organization in the short-term, the long-term dividends are well worth the effort.
Why Such a Sense of Urgency?
What’s the rush, anyway? You waited nearly a year to get approval to hire this Project Manager, what’s a few more weeks going to hurt? A lot! Here are a few possible scenarios that can happen if you wait to start the hiring process:
- Budgets Change - The funding to bring this person on board was generated by a large client who, unfortunately, decided to take their business elsewhere. Your organization must now scramble to cut the budget, and the finance department comes across your open and unfulfilled employee requisition. You can hear the VP of Finance excitedly screaming down the hallway, “Hey everyone, I just found X dollars that we can save by not bringing this person on board!” If that person was already hired, chances are good the organization would look elsewhere to cover the gap. But, since they are not part of the team yet, this is financially low-hanging fruit.
- Needs Change - This person was going to join the organization’s darling pet project. It was innovative, forward-thinking and going to change the way the company did business. But, conditions in the market changed and the value this major project was going to produce aren’t quite as evident as they used to be. The project is moving forward but at a much smaller scale, meaning, not as many people need to be brought on board. Guess what that means for your potential new hire?
- People’s Minds Change - Particularly, your manager’s mind. Here’s the line of reasoning that can creep into their head. You’ve been given the go ahead to bring someone on board. Six weeks pass, and despite the lack of a new hire, there hasn’t been a degradation in performance and nobody is complaining about your team not delivering. Your manager can begin to think, “Why do we need this other person when things seem to be going fine?” They could then redirect this potential new hire to another team that is not doing as well as your group. Unbeknownst to the manager, you and the rest of the team are putting in the extra hours to make sure nothing drops in the short term, but long-term it’s not sustainable.
Circumstances in every organization are different. The one thing that remains the same is that you must immediately move forward in hiring when given the go ahead.
Effective Hiring is Part of Your Organization’s Project Management Journey
Every organization that delivers projects is on a Project Management Journey. Quickly onboarding the right people with standardized processes and tools is part of the journey. Notice the emphasis on “right people.” Filling roles quickly with the wrong hires just because you need people spells disaster. Consider these points to help you fill open roles quicker.
- Keep Hiring Conversations Going with People - This could be with recruiters, your professional network, and other colleagues at the company. Let people know that you are always on the lookout for good people to join the team. The need may not be now, but when it does surface, you have a short list of good people to start having conversations with.
- Utilize Different Resource Models - Depending upon the need, you have an ability to bring on Full-Time Employees, Contractors, or Consultants. Each model has pros and cons and you can see what those are in the post The Beatles Were Resource Managers.
- Have an Onboarding Process in Place - Once you’ve been given the go ahead to hire someone from the pool of people you have nurtured, have a process in place to make sure their onboarding experience goes smoothly. This could be a simple checklist that includes everything from ordering their laptop, setting up email, taking them to lunch on their first day, to scheduling conversations with company leaders and key customers.
The faster you bring people on board, the faster they can start generating value, which is every PMOs ultimate goal.
The next time you are given the go ahead to hire someone, immediately start taking action to hire the right person before that window slams shut on your fingers, and you’re left with nothing but a painful memory of what could have been.
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