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Project Manager Job Description

We are putting an ad in the local paper for a Software Development Project Manager.

Unfortunetly we are not 'development smart'.

What should I put in the job description for the interview?

Friday, January 31, 2003

Well, what do you want out of them? It could be any of the following:

* serve as liason between client and company
* client handholding
* set budget
* set deadlines
* set development plan
* organize a QA and testing system
* prioritize features/bugs
* organize workflow
* assign jobs to team members
* handle staffing
* etc.

You need to hash out exactly what you want, before you even think about encapsulating "what we want" in a job posting.

Joe Grossberg
Friday, January 31, 2003

You want someone smart who gets things done, you need to know what they want.  Describing day to day tasks is useful and important for a job that has as much variability as PM seems to.

As a PM hopeful myself, I think the philosophy/motivation side of it comes down to a few things:

*Knowing I would get authority sufficient to handle my responsibilities.  That is, "responsible for finishing projects within deadline" would need to be paired with "authority to negotiate resources and scope," and "responsible for performance of staff" would require "authority over hiring and firing."  I think you can somehow get it into a job ad that you have realistic expectations.

*A feeling that we are going the same direction.  Type of development process used, what industry, and any new responsibilities that would be added with the position (for example, starting a QA department) would probably be the main thing here.  What day to day tasks are listed, their priority order, and which are new, should give a sense of this whether you mention it explicitly or not.  This will also be the main direction of discussion at an interview, as it's important to both sides and is easier to discuss openly than the first point.

*Trust.  I want to end up in a place where you trust me to get the job done, and I trust the company to support me doing it, and not mistreat me or the employees I'm responsible for.  I think most people interested in a PM job have a sense of what responsibilities they want to take on, and I at least (as a relatively junior candidate) am looking for that sense that you are evaluating me but *want* to trust me with those things.  Maybe more experienced people would expect more respect to begin with.  (But I kind of doubt they expect you to *trust* them right off.)  It's more of an interview thing.  I *really* don't want to get the feeling that you are hiding things from me about the job or the company or the people I have to deal with or whatever.

Friday, January 31, 2003

>>> Unfortunetly we are not 'development smart'. <<<

This strange comment leads to more questions.

Have you never done software development?  Is this a whole new department?  Have you have any software development people at all?  How does software fit in to your main line of work?

Friday, January 31, 2003

>> Unfortunetly we are not 'development smart'. <<

> This strange comment leads to more questions. <

And here's one:

How do you know you're not "development smart"? Whatever led you to that realization might be the most pressing need for your prospective PM to tackle.

Joe Grossberg
Friday, January 31, 2003

What a strange question. _You_ are looking for PM to do  something for you, right? So just describe exactly what _you_ expect him to do.

Why do you need JoelOnSoftware people to come up with some phoney "generic" requirements?

Friday, January 31, 2003

Be afraid.  Do you know anyone personally who is in software development?  Can you hire them for a day to help you interview candidates?

This is an uneviable situation.  Project Manager competence varies wildly.

Without a basis for determining competence, you might be best served by overpaying and getting someone who has repeatedly demonstrated ability to do what you need and has references that will verify his/her competence.

If you're just starting on a project, I would specifically require someone who's versed in recent, but necessarily bleeding edge, technology.  Hiring someone who needs to come up to speed on modern lingo before they can hire a development staff will only hurt your timeframe.

Starting from zero means you've got a long ways to go.  Best of luck!

Bill Carlson
Friday, January 31, 2003

If you don't hire a new project manager, in what ways your team or your company will suffer?

Monday, February 3, 2003


If you are not dev. savvy, have a quick skimm through

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, February 3, 2003

Save yourself the trouble and hire me.  Duh.

Monday, February 3, 2003

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