Hiring contract IT Project Managers, one who can successfully run critical IT projects like ERP implementations, can be a key decision for Project owners. Transformational project like ERPs can significantly impact a company by altering it's single or multiple business processes. Not only do they change how employees function internally, but how the company interacts with its customers, vendors, partners, and others. Therefore, it is crucial to have the "right-fit" IT Project Manager, one who is experienced in rolling out those types of projects correctly the first time.
When it comes to hiring contract IT Project Managers, I often see the executives make the mistake of hiring a consultants who looks good paper, passes the interviews with flying colors, but performs poorly on the job. As a result, projects get delayed, run over budget and create a downstream business impact. Or in the worst case, the Project Manager is let go and the day to day responsibilities falls on the project owners.
To avoid such situations, ensure that the Project Manager you are hiring can gel well with your project team/s, has the right technical background, and the right level of Project Management Consulting experience demanded by the project.
After being in the industry for a while and talking to successful Project Owners, I have found that the tips below helped them hire the right IT Project Manager for successful project delivery.
Tip 1: Get a realistic assessment of your organization’s culture:
Your organization's culture is probably the most important factor when it comes to hiring Project Managers who can get along with your everyone and deliver the project on time. Often hiring managers do not provide the same level of due diligence as they would if they were hiring an FTE.
Contract Project Managers need to get along with their supervisors, business stakeholders, technical teams, and vendors just as your internal staff would. They need to have the right cultural fit and the project experiences to successfully navigate the project through the organization. If your organization is fast paced then you would you need to hire someone who can keep up with the speed. On the other hand, if your organization has a lot of checks and balances, a fast paced consultant may not be the most effective solution here. Try to judge from a holistic standpoint of where your organization's culture figure and hire Consulting Project Managers with the right temperament
Tip 2: Know how technical the Project Manager needs to be:
Do you want a Project Manager with deep technical domain experience a.k.a. Technical Project Managers. Or do you want someone who started as a Project Coordinator and became PM (Functional Project Manager)?
Technical Project managers tend to understand business processes and technology far better than Functional Project Managers. As a result, they can navigate the projects through technical hurdles effectively. On the other hand, functional Project Managers are good at managing budget, tasks and getting things completed on time. Get an assessment of your team and figure out the type of PM your project will be successful with most. For tip on hiring technical project managers.
Tip 3: Verify the Experience level needed.
The last, but an important factor to understand the level of experience required. Build a list of the top five responsibilities your PM should have. Then during your interviews, rank candidates against those responsibilities. For tips on Project Manager interview questions, visit our article on,
A good example, if the PM is responsible for managing the implementation partner and signing off on the deliverables, then the PM needs to have that skillset. On the other hand, if the project is politically charged, then you may want to hire a PM who is good at managing difficult stakeholders and navigating politics. Either way, the focus should be on the experience handling major risk areas rather than number of years under the belt.