Contract Project Manager? What you need to know! – Part 2

Contract Project Manager? What you need to know! – Part 2

Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson

Part 1 of this article outlined three steps for success as a contract project manager. In part 2, I will share what a Chief Technology Officer  told me about Contract Project Managers. One of the major benefits of what I do is working with great leaders, and I consider Ben Wilson, Chief Technology Officer of General Electric Oil and Gas one of those.
So when seeking information on this subject he was an individual I sought out.

Ben’s response was broken up into three areas which were Must haves just to talk to me,” “To get hired as a contract project manager,” and “To get hired as a full time employee.

Below are his responses in bullet point form. If you are a contract project manager or considering being one you may want to make sure your online (cover letter, resume, Linkedin profile, etc.) and personal personas (how you communicate and perform) demonstrate you possess all of these attributes. You can use the attributes as a checklist against your online and personal personas to see if evidence of the skills and knowledge are there, not only in your words, but client testimonials.

Must haves to just talk to me

  • Transparency to what is really happening – are they willing to be transparent and know how to do it in an effective way
  • Clear understanding of Project Management methods
  • Clear way to scorecard a project in detail – EVA, etc.
  • Issue management – does the PM understand the difference between an issue and a risk
  • Scope Management – do they have sufficient knowledge in the area they are managing to manage scope creep and changes
  • Project Change Request (PCR) management – do they know how to hold stakeholders to the scope defined by using PCR’s

To get hired as a contract project manager

  • Is the Project Manager very knowledgeable – had multiple projects – in the area the project is being run
    • If it’s a supply chain project do they know supply chain?
    • If it’s cloud do they know the cloud?
  • Is the Project Manager able to sniff out inconsistencies from the project team members so that issues are raised appropriately
  • Financial management – are they good at managing and forecasting their financials
  • Communication
    • How well can they communicate to team members and executives
    • Do they know how to be concise with issue management – meaning not bringing other irrelevant points up that don’t have a huge impact on the topic
    • Writing – can they write properly
    • Presentations – can they present effectively?

To get hired as a full time employee

  • Leadership – will people follow the Project Manager during difficult times
  • Communication – must be fantastic from team members to executives
  • Budget management – do they do a VERY complete job of this
  • Culture – are they a cultural fit for the organization
  • Sense of humor – can they laugh at their mistakes while taking it seriously and fixing the problem
  • Humble – are they humble enough to give others credit

Ben has provided a lot of information here, but I will just focus on “To get hired as a full time employee” and the leadership component – Will people follow you as Project Manager during difficult times? This is important and if you don’t have the sense of humor to laugh at your mistakes and humility as he describes it, don’t expect people to follow you in difficult times. Unfortunately it is far too common to encounter the project manager that does not own their mistakes, or is paralyzed by them to the point of indecision or takes every opportunity to get personal credit at the expense of the team. People will not follow you in difficult times if you have this self serving behavior.

There will be difficult times… you will make mistakes (get over yourself, own them and fix them quickly).   You should always give others credit and personally accept the blame or criticism for failures of the team members.

In part 3 of this article I will share Working as a Contractor – Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts from a project manager with a long history of success as a contract project manager.

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