When you decide to hire a project manager, you’re making an investment in your business that will pay you back for years to come. A PM can increase efficiency and streamline processes and work with other managers and teams to ensure that everyone is on the same page. If you find yourself asking, “How to hire a project manager?” keep reading the article where we’ve described some valuable tips regarding this question!
A project manager is an integral part of an IT team. However, when the head of the company starts forming a team, the project manager’s role is often missed out. There’s a common misconception that a couple of programmers are enough to make the IT company work seamlessly. Of course, it is usual for startups to have few people on board. However, programmers’ qualifications may not be enough when the company expands and deals with more complicated projects. That’s when it is reasonable to find an IT project manager and a couple of other non-technical people, such as a marketer, product owner, business analyst, and others. The more qualifications in the team, the bigger the chances of developing a high-quality product. So, today we will find out why it is crucial to hire a project manager and how you can do it the right way.
On the one hand, the market is full of specialists with various qualifications, including people with project management experience. On the other hand, a PM’s functions are too essential to assign to a person you don’t fully trust. A project manager is responsible for the collaboration between all team members, communication with the clients, and the company’s budget. So, before entrusting such tasks to a newly hired project manager, it is essential to ensure that PM’s experience and knowledge are sufficient to perform these processes correctly.
Besides, a project manager’s impact on the project and team’s success is significant. A good PM makes team members and clients feel comfortable. Meanwhile, a lousy PM can turn the whole project into chaos. That’s why it is essential to be considerate when you’re looking for a project manager for hire.
So, if you want to find out how to avoid all pitfalls in the employment process and hire a project manager that will help your projects succeed, keep reading!
List Of The Content
- Why hire a project manager?
- Core skills of a good project manager
- How to hire a project manager: employment models
- How much does it cost to hire a project manager
WHY HIRE A PROJECT MANAGER FOR YOUR PROJECT?
So, why is having a project manager on board vital, and how can it benefit your project? To understand the importance of a PM, let’s look at his responsibilities.
A project manager is in charge of all project processes, whether deadlines, billing, clients, or other aspects. PM is accountable for budget distribution, project constraints, quality control, client communication, etc. Suppose we’re speaking about the project schedule. In that case, a PM creates the project structure, splits it into separate tasks, assigns tasks to the team members, regularly checks if everything is going as planned and the team handles implementing all the required functionality while meeting the deadline. If some conflicts within the team appear, the project manager is the first one who gets to solve them and re-establish a positive working environment.
To sum it all up, a project manager is a person who binds all processes together and makes the team function as a single whole.
Sometimes, when you’re very enthusiastic about launching a project, it may seem that you’ll handle all processes on your own. However, when the workflows become more complex and more people are involved in the development, it may be necessary to find a senior project manager.
Of course, there are cases when product owners successfully handled some complicated project. Still, despite that the final results are great, no one can assert that the work was done in time and with no budget overburn.
Let’s talk about the last but not least advantage of having a project manager on board. When there’s no PM, it’s the executives who manage the processes as well as the programmers themselves. Considering this, you can imagine how much time is wasted on some project logistics instead of performing the actual work. For example, the executives could focus more on strategy development, while programmers could write code. A project manager handles all the organizational aspects, and other team members can pay attention to more specific tasks.
So, let’s summarize why you should hire a project manager for your project. A PM will help you to:
- Do the project planning
- Assign tasks
- Manage budget
- Spare employees the administrative tasks
- Free up time for executives to focus on the bigger picture
- Enhance the collaboration between departments
- Maintain the communication with clients
- Fairly distribute the workloads
- Manage risks, deadlines, and delivery
- Improve team’s efficiency through retrospectives and minimize expenditures
We can see that a PM is an essential team member. That’s why it may be challenging to find a project manager that matches all your requirements. So, how to hire an IT project manager that will bring your company experience up to the next level? Keep reading to find out some useful tips.
CORE SKILLS OF A GOOD PROJECT MANAGER
When you decide to find a project manager for hire, it is essential to remember that his skills should be proportionate to the project’s difficulty. Suppose we’re talking about a startup. Then, a junior PM with a few years of experience would be enough. However, if the project is complex and involves many people, it is better to find a senior project manager. Still, the words “junior” and “senior” probably don’t tell so much about the skills that a good project manager should have. So, let’s proceed to the qualifications you should look for while hiring a PM.
Hard skills are technical knowledge or experience that you’ve gained at work or while learning something. They aren’t related to your personality, just the technical qualifications.
Project planning. First of all, the project manager is responsible for general planning and sprint planning. We already touched on this briefly, the PM should divide the project into sprints according to the chosen SDLC model. This includes the list of functionality that should be delivered during every sprint. Sprints consist of the list of the tasks assigned to each of the team members by the project manager. He/she is responsible for controlling the execution of every task, quality of the work, and performance. Most of the time, projects based on the Agile model require shifts and changes between tasks on the go, and this is one of the ongoing responsibilities. Project managers usually utilize tools like Jira that helps to plan the project as a Kanban board or Gantt flowchart. Additionally, those tools help to track the time spent for each separate task with plugins like Tempo and collaboration between team members. For example, QA can return tasks to the developer with the bug report in the comments.
Negotiation. It is usual in any business that a client and a service provider have different perceptions of a situation and want opposite things. The main task of a project manager is to find a middle ground between them and suggest some option that would work best for both sides. Besides, a team often doesn’t manage to deliver the required results on time and make everything work perfectly. In this case, a project manager needs to be flexible and communicative enough to make the client feel comfortable and calm, and ensure him the certainty that everything will work as planned. So, you need to look for someone who will be able to reach a consensus in any negotiation.
Writing. Communication with customers is not always verbal. Usually, it requires daily emails and messages. That’s why the ability to express things clearly and accurately is a must for a good PM. While hiring a project manager, you should thoroughly check a specialist’s writing skills so that he can deliver easy-to-understand and free-of-mistakes texts.
Budgeting. The project manager’s responsibility is to ensure that a project won’t go over the expected budget. It requires strong budget management skills and a good knowledge of arithmetic, spreadsheets, and calculation. This is a critical skill of a good PM, and you should pay attention to it when you hire a project manager. Ask a candidate about his previous projects: were they all in or under budget, or did there happen to be budget overburns?
Prioritization and strategic thinking. No matter how complex the project is and how many people it includes, there always will be dozens of small tasks that need to be prioritized correctly. Considering the flow of never-ending tasks, a project manager should have strong analytical skills to decide which ones need to be performed in the first place. If the order of the tasks is defined incorrectly, it may lead to the situation when developers haven’t managed to deliver results to the deadline because they were busy with some less urgent tasks. So, to avoid such cases, you should find a senior project manager that will always keep the bigger picture in mind and wisely adhere to the developed strategy.
Delegating. With the tremendous number of small tasks that a project includes, a project manager needs to divide them equally among each team member. So that nobody will be over or underworked. It seems like an easy task. However, it is challenging to keep all employees in mind and never forget about anyone. Besides, it is crucial for a project manager to set tasks clearly and transparently so that no time will be wasted while figuring them out.
Soft skills describe what kind of person you are and how it affects your working process. Usually, soft skills present how easy you will interact with other people and behave on your own. For project managers, in particular, soft skills are more crucial than for developers per se.
Communication. A project manager is a link between all parties involved in a project. He communicates with the internal team and the clients via various channels. A PM must know how to convey thoughts clearly and find common ground between the parties.
Leadership. Leadership is not a quality that every person owns. Being a good leader is not just giving tasks to people around you. It also means motivating employees, earning their trust and respect, and, more importantly, taking responsibility for their failures and success. So, it would be reasonable to ask a candidate for a PM’s role how he approached pursuing positive engagement within the organization.
Conflict management. It doesn’t always go smoothly in the team. Usually, people with different personalities have conflicts, which a project manager knows how to deal with. A conflict in a team doesn’t scare away a good PM. It is just an ordinary situation that he can quickly solve. The goal of a knowledgeable conflict manager is to address problems as soon as they arise without hurting anyone’s feelings.
Decision making. The project manager’s decisions impact the whole team. Since we’re talking about controlling and streamlining all processes of a particular project, it is necessary to make decisions daily. Sometimes, they are easy, but sometimes they require noticeable effort. Making decisions that affect other people implies taking responsibility for the result. A project manager must have a strong will and a cool head. That’s why a project manager should have extensive experience in handling problematic situations. At any moment, he can leverage his knowledge to make the right decision that will benefit the team members and help the project succeed.
Organization. Organizing the teamwork is like constantly controlling each component in a car: there’s a chance that some parts will start moving unexpectedly or stop moving at all. A project manager should know where each element is located, how it affects the whole mechanism, and how to fix it quickly. That’s what project management is, especially when it comes to a team of people. The human factor cannot be predefined, but a PM should know how to handle it. He also needs to understand how to unite individuals into a single whole that will work cohesively and move towards a common goal.
Adaptability. No matter how many people the project includes and how complex the tasks are, there’s always a chance something won’t go as planned. A PM needs to be flexible and adaptable to the changes. You can say that things out of control happen because of poor planning. However, a project manager can be the best planner ever, but it is still highly possible that things will change in the process, at least because of the people related to the project. You never know what changes the client will be eager to implement in the future or which employee will need to take a day off. So, while hiring a project manager, it is vital to pay attention to how he adapts to the constantly changing circumstances. Ideally, it should be a person with an agile mindset who can easily implement changes in the initial plan and quickly adapt it to the new requirements.
HOW TO HIRE A PROJECT MANAGER: EMPLOYMENT MODELS
Now, we’re familiar with the characteristics of a good project manager. So, it’s time to proceed to more technical aspects, such as employment models. Suppose you’re entirely sure that you need a PM in your team to boost the business. But where to hire an IT project manager? For this, you need to know how you can organize the collaboration.
Employment models define the payment model, PM’s working schedule, reliability, and other factors. The three most popular options are in-house PM, third-party providers, and freelancers. They have their pros and cons, and your choice should depend on the priorities you set for a particular project. Let’s discuss each of them in more detail.
In-House Project Manager
An in-house PM means that you will hire a person who will permanently work in your company. So, when a project is over and you have no more tasks for the PM, you’ll still have to pay regular wages regardless of the amount of work. It may sound unappealing, but this problem is most often faced by startups that don’t have an established flow of projects. However, if your employees are always busy with work, such a problem won’t be relevant to you. Moreover, you won’t need to go through a lengthy recruitment process when a new project starts as you would in the case of hiring a freelancer, for example.
A significant advantage of hiring an in-house project manager is that in-house specialists are always much more dedicated to your business than third-party contractors. Specialists that work in your company full-time know your culture and are in great relationships with their colleagues. So, no wonder they sincerely want your company to grow and become better. No one can compare this attitude to the lower prices that freelancers suggest.
We should mention that an in-house development model is highly recommended, especially for a project manager’s role. It may not be so valuable for some other cases, but it has an undeniable advantage in terms of a PM. A project manager is a person who controls the whole operation, including people in your team. It’s much better if such responsibility falls on the shoulders of a person the team can trust. An in-house PM has known these people for some time, and consequently, it’s easier for him to find an approach to everyone and organize their collaboration most efficiently.
Third-Party Service Providers
The next option is hiring a project manager from a third-party service provider. Suppose your plans don’t go further than one particular project, and you’re not sure if there will be more work for a PM soon. In this case, an in-house specialist won’t be a wise option due to extensive expenditures. So, you may want to consider third-party service providers.
Numerous companies are ready to provide you with a whole team of dedicated developers or someone in particular. If you decide on this option, you’ll need to agree on a payment model. Usually, when someone hires a dedicated specialist, we can talk about the fixed price or time-and-materials models. In the first case, you estimate the scope of work and agree on the final price with the service provider. After that, you can leave all the work to a project manager. In the case of a T&M approach, you work on an hourly basis. A hired PM tracks the time dedicated to some tasks, and you pay for the amount of work done. No matter what payment model you opt for, the PM’s involvement in your business ends with the project. It may be handy for companies with relatively small budgets.
One more beneficial advantage of hiring a third-party contractor as a PM is that it allows for outsourcing. Ask yourself, “How to find a project manager?” Remember that any world part is available. Also, you can hire a PM from any site and reduce the project’s budget. For example, local PMs may seem quite expensive if you live in the US or Canada. Still find yourself asking, “Where to hire a senior project manager?” Consider Eastern Europe. For example, Romania, Poland, and Ukraine have proven themselves to the less expensive and good candidates for software development outsourcing.
Even though a third-party contractor won’t probably be physically present in the office and won’t be able to collaborate with the team members face to face, there are still significant advantages of this employment model.
Want to know more about hiring dedicated third-party specialists?
Our article about hiring dedicated teams or individual developers has covered the topis of the most crucial aspects of successful collaboration between the client and the service provider.
Freelance is quite widespread nowadays. There are a lot of upsides and downsides in hiring freelancers who work on an independent, contract basis. Let’s break down these pros and cons so you can decide if a freelance project manager is right for you.
Planning to hire a project manager working on a freelance basis? See what advantages you’ll get:
- Affordability. Freelancers are usually much more affordable than full-time employees. In a lot of cases, freelancers are paid per hour or project. It means that you know exactly what the cost will be, and there’s no guessing about whether an employee will work overtime or not. In addition, freelancers typically don’t have many expenses other than their equipment (which they usually already own), so their costs are lower than those of full-time employees who need computers and offices.
- Wider skill-set. Freelancers often have access to a broader range of skills and experience than full-time employees. If there’s a skill set you need but don’t currently have on staff, it may be easier for you to find someone with such knowledge on a freelance platform rather than train an existing employee in that area or hire someone new just for this one job. Freelancers are also great if you need help with a particular aspect of running your business but don’t have time or expertise yourself. In such a case, there’s no better place than Upwork!
- Access to the world talent pool. You can work with freelancers from anywhere in the world to tap into global talent. It allows you to find someone who you have the most cultural similarities with. Also, you can easily choose people from cheaper regions to save some project costs.
- Low level of commitment to your project. When you find an IT project manager on a freelance basis, you may find that he doesn’t have the same commitment to your business as an in-house specialist. Besides, freelancers usually have multiple clients at once and aren’t as accountable as full-time employees.
- Lack of control. You may find them more challenging to manage than full-timers because no direct manager is overseeing their word day-by-day – and if something goes wrong, they might leave without much notice or care about what happens next.
- Inconvenient communication. Freelancers may be an excellent addition to the workforce. However, suppose you need help on a project that requires a lot of communication or collaboration (as in the case of a project manager). In that case, there may not be enough face-to-face time available to make progress noticeable enough. So, if you want to hire a project manager, it’s much better to consider an in-house option. A full-time PM will likely provide better value for money overall—even though his hourly rate might be higher than his remote counterparts’ rates.
Curious about what approach is best for you?
We’ve provided a detailed comparison of the two most popular models: dedicated developers and freelancers. Read the article if you want to learn about its pros and cons.
Weighing these pros and cons should help you decide how to hire a senior project manager: using a freelance approach or another employment model.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO HIRE A PROJECT MANAGER
There’s a lot to consider when you decide to hire a project manager. Should you pay a PM based on experience or location? How much does it cost to hire a project manager?
The rates of project managers vary wildly depending on several factors, including geographic location and experience. In general, the more experienced and well-respected project managers are, the higher they will charge.
As such, there’s no “one size fits all” answer to this question. You’ll have to do some research into what local competitors are paying for similar work. It can be worthwhile considering hiring someone outside of your area. Specialists from distant locations will most likely come at a lower cost than locals because they probably don’t have as much demand for their skills locally or just want to move somewhere else.
Before deciding how much to offer, consider the following questions:
- What is the market rate for project managers in your area? It will vary depending on where you live and what type of projects you take on. For example, project managers in New York may get paid more than those who work in rural areas.
- Does your project require specialized skills that could be hard to come by otherwise (for example, experience in fintech)? In this case, you might want to offer more than usual because there aren’t many options available locally.
So, how much does it cost to hire a project manager? To give you at least some estimation, we’ll use Glassdoor – a reliable resource that provides average devs’ salaries and company reviews. According to this platform, the average rate for a senior project manager in the US constitutes $126 344 yearly. At the same time, if you want to hire a project manager with experience of 2-4 years in the US, the approximate salary will be $98 588 yearly. It may sound pretty expensive, but remember that you’re not restricted to a particular location, and you can always find a great PM in Eastern Europe. For example, the salary of a project manager in Bucharest, Romania, constitutes about $50 727 yearly. You can see that companies like IBM, Luxoft, and Oracle are offering around $50 000 net pay yearly for Project Managers in Bucharest, which is more than two times less than in the US.
Looking for a detailed breakdown of development rates?
We’ve created a report on development rates based on surveys of 357 companies. You’ll also find the analysis of the five most demanded world regions in terms of salaries of IT professionals.
As soon as you hire a project manager, you will notice your business grow. So, it’s essential to take the time to find someone who will be a good fit for your projects and company.
The above guidelines are intended to provide you with a basic framework for identifying qualified PM candidates. As always, the most important thing is to look for people who understand your business needs and can execute projects that support your company’s vision. If you follow these tips, you should be able to find a project manager that will positively impact your business.
Have some additional questions?
You can contact us anytime and receive a qualified consultation regarding your questions or ideas. We’ve tried numerous employment approaches during the years of work and have a structured understanding of each. Besides, we provide dedicated developers, so drop us a message if you’re interested in boosting your business by hiring a project manager. We’ll contact you within a couple of working hours.
Do I really need a project manager?
Only very small projects can be handled correctly without a professional PM. However, if at least 4-5 people are engaged in the development, you may really lack the direction, control, and leadership that a project manager brings. So, if you're not working solely, hiring a project manager would be useful.
What should I look for when hiring a project manager?
If you want a project manager to help your business advance, you should look for a range of hard and soft skills. They are project planning, negotiation, excellent writing and speaking skills, strategic thinking, budget management skills, leadership, conflict management, decision making, organizational skills, and adaptability.
Where to look for project managers?
The most popular employment models in the case of a PM are hiring an in-house specialist, finding a dedicated PM, or looking through freelance platforms. Each model has its advantages and disadvantages, so no advice can be given on what option is best for you. You should define your priorities first, and it will help you choose the most suitable employment model exactly for your needs.