Last Friday, we had a great group discussion on the topic: Identify and Hire Project Management Leaders. Thank you to Jodi Curtis, CDD Program Manager and Scrum Master at TCF Bank and Alicia Ayala, Senior Director, Portfolio Management Office at Life Time for facilitating our conversation. As always, thank you to Medica for hosting!  

As the industry is moving towards a flexible and optimized delivery model there appears to be a shift in direction from project “managers” to project “leaders.” Continuously increasing your capabilities is very crucial to staying relevant in a shifting industry. A few ways to improve is personal development, seeing the gaps, and being aware of your current archetype.  As a group, we defined the project management archetype all the way from coordinator to leader. You can see some that were outlined below:  

Project Coordinator:  

  • Administration  
  • Keeping projects on track  
  • Scheduling  
  • Task-Focused  
  • Documenter 
  • Checks off tasks and deliverables when completed  

Project Manager:  

  • Managing business communication and ability to communicate upward 
  • Budget control 
  • Knowledge of Industry  
  • Risk/issues/change 
  • More delivery and quality focused  
  • Focused on the administration of planning, managing, controlling, and reporting on IT deliverables  

Project Leader:  

  • Focus on full delivery encompassing all areas of work  
  • Understands how to leverage guiding principles to manage delivery  
  • Understands the business value and impact of the effort  
  • Sets director, inspires teamwork, motivates, & supports 

The group then raised the question, are you able to shift or change archetypes? We concluded that depending on your skill level, you may be able to shift through the different archetype. For example, if you started your career as a coordinator and progress through to a leader, or if you work at a smaller company you may have to do it all and be able to shift to different archetypes. So, how do you hire for these project leaders?  

Below are some things you can look for when hiring:

  • Are they rambling off things they memorized or is it a discussion? 
  • Listen to accomplishments 
  • What type of questions are is the interviewees asking? 
  • Broader picture 
  • Thoughtfulness  
  • What skills do they want to grow? 

Questions to ask interviewees: 

  • When you are driving to work in the morning, how are you preparing? 
  • What is your “why”? 
  • Name 3 adjectives that a peer would use to describe you? 
  • What about 3 adjectives a leader would use to describe you? 
  • Lastly, what are 3 adjectives a former colleague would use to describe you? 

As a group, we compiled a list of the most important competencies to look for when hiring a few of them being: encouraging, initiator, integrity, collaborative mindset, influence others, technical ability, and passion. What is the most important thing you look for when identifying and hiring project leaders? 

To learn more about what was discussed, check out our slide deck here. You can find more information regarding Think IT, here.