Unfortunately, too many businesses seem to go about hiring Project Managers in the wrong way. A rockstar project manager (PM) can ultimately make the difference between project success and failure, but more often than not, the knee-jerk tendency is to hire people to fill this crucial role without being clear about what the role requires. Here are a few suggestions to help you avoid the deleterious effects of hiring the wrong person:

1. Clarify what the role entails

One of the greatest challenges to overcome when hiring a PM is confusion, as this role is one of the most blurry. To clarify things, a PM is a professional with expertise in project management who is responsible for the procurement and execution of projects from start to finish. They are the people who are in charge of coordinating with the technical teams and using project management tools to ensure tasks are conducted, agendas are followed through and progress reports are delivered.

 2. Determine what the role does not entail

In view of the above, it may come as no surprise that the role is not as wide as commonly perceived. Its focus is on tracking and reporting and should, by no means, be confused with bigger-picture oriented roles such as that of the Programme Manager. Although quite goal-oriented, the PM role requires a very detail-oriented individual who has very little to do with devising project strategy, translating business needs into projects or managing the end-product.

 3. Mixing up roles can be detrimental

Asking the PM to engage in business analysis is counter-intuitive even when the person hired seems to have the know-how to do so. In fact, their black-and-white mindset is more akin to that of a software engineer than to that of the Programme Manager who is, inherently, a big picture thinker. Thus, the PM’s job is to focus on and handle detail. In simpler terms, you cannot ask a microscope to provide a panoramic view of space.

4. Don’t focus on hiring an industry-savvy PM

An effective PM is scarcely one who can understand the ins and outs of a specific industry. Rather, the best person for the job is someone who has extensive project management skills. Insight pertinent to a particular niche can be easily acquired, PM skills cannot.

 5. Determine the core qualities of a good PM

The above discussion may have already shed some light on what these are; namely, a successful PM is a level-headed, detail-oriented professional who understands figures and knows their way around PM tools. Nevertheless, businesses should be mindful of not hiring individuals who are too inflexible.