Choosing the people who are going to act as managers for new and ongoing projects is incredibly important, and there is definitely some confusion when it comes to where the best people for the job generally reside. Should you choose your company’s leading employees to head up that important project, or is it better to promote less experienced people to a role with more responsibility through training? There’s also the matter of apprenticeships, with well-trained and loyal employees indispensible to project management roles.
One thing is clear – choosing the wrong people to manage projects can result in huge losses for the company – both financial and reputational – and this is why proper training has become so important to success in this area. By appointing people who are ill-equipped to lead new projects you are risking failure before you even begin. Failed projects mean a hit to your company’s reputation and an increase in your risk profile, as well as a negative impact on the confidence and drive of your remaining workforce.
Putting faith and money behind projects without proper management in place can devastate a company, so it’s imperative that you’re aware of where to find good people for the job. Promoting your best employees seems like the obvious move until you realise that those people might not actually be the most skilled for the project management position. Qualifications aren’t necessarily enough – employees have to be qualified in how to manage – and skills developed by a specific PRINCE2 qualification from ILX are thus incredibly important.
There is a common perception in the business world that there’s a shortage of people adequately trained for project management positions, and this is forcing companies to appoint people who aren’t up to the job. This strong demand for skilled project managers has created a space that needs to be filled by someone, and the misconception that project management skills are picked up along the way could be actively preventing projects was succeeding. Good employees don’t necessarily make the greatest project managers.
Investing in new projects is a costly business, so you should make sure you’re assembling the absolute best team of people when starting out. Existing skills can be nurtured and added to but, if the wrong person ends up guiding the project to failure, it can cause problems for everyone involved. Worst case scenario – you lose out on your investment and your employees become increasingly discontented in their current position. This is where training new staff and recruiting apprentices can be helpful, as they are more likely to remain loyal and be eager to learn new skills.
Young people are a largely untapped resource when it comes to project management positions, and hiring apprentices can lay the groundwork for future success. On the job training or some form of combined learning can be the best way to establish proper management skills in employees, and this means that young employees will trained in a way that others may not be. Business education must prioritise strategic and organisation skills essential to project management and on-the-job training will hone those abilities further.
Finding the right project managers, then, is a matter of searching out particular skills rather than looking at someone’s performance in their current job, and only this can ensure projects are a success for your organisation. PRINCE2 courses offer this training on best practice for project management and the method is widely used across the public and private sectors. It can be looked at as a discipline all on its own and, like any discipline, it needs to be nurtured in order to develop and grow.
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