Most of you have heard the statement, “You can't put 10 pounds of potatoes in a five-pound bag.” This is the best job description I've ever heard to describe what a project manager does or should be doing! Any good employee wants to be measured fairly and rewarded accordingly. You need to establish a written chain of command to define who he or she is responsible for. Then you can write a detailed scope of work (job description) that lists whatever tasks or duties he is responsible to perform.
By assigning a reasonable number of hours each week to fulfill these responsibilities, you will probably encounter that “10 pounds of potatoes in a five-pound bag” phenomenon. Keep in mind, employees should get credit for all of those responsibilities that are successfully completed on time. They must also accept the blame for any that are not.
That makes it fair.
Watch Out For Those 10 Pounds!Every company I've worked with has a different scope of work for what they call a project manager:
I'm sure you'll agree that all of these items are critical and very costly when not taken care of on time. You simply cannot expect someone to undertake all of that responsibility! With a written scope of work and a reasonable time study, you will probably see those 10 pounds of potatoes in your five-pound bag. Being too busy is not an acceptable excuse. These items are all too important.
You really have two effective options:
- 1. You can assign these responsibilities to more than one employee.
2. You can provide a support staff for your project manager to delegate and monitor whatever items each of those employees can perform satisfactorily.
Delegate, Monitor, Measure & RewardWe have always encountered that question of whether a qualified project manager should have jobsite experience or a college education. The answer is both! Your experienced jobsite supervisor can get the necessary education and your college graduate can get some jobsite experience.
A project manager's background, experience and ability should be considered as you define his or her specific scope of work responsibilities. These same traits should also determine which tasks are effectively delegated to your other staff employees.
With all of this in place, you can now monitor and measure your project manager's “eight hours work for eight hours pay.” This scorecard will assure him or her of that recognition and appreciation, as well as ammunition for negotiating comparable wages, salary, perks, etc.
You should also consider the No. 1 rule in Management 101 - to give every employee the most flattering title that describes his or her job properly without being far-fetched or silly. When you review your project managers' job scope of responsibilities, you will consider using vice president of operations or vice president of construction to enhance their image in your business situations and their personal and family pride and prestige.
Keep in mind our profit-oriented, business-decision-making criteria:
- 1. What will it cost?
2. What will it produce?
3. What will happen if we don't do it?
This project management position is too critical for you to overlook. You cannot expect any good employee to accept the responsibility for what does or doesn't happen on a job without true recognition and appreciation for what they accomplish.