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Finding and Acquiring Excellent Project Leaders

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This post will cover how to find and acquire top leadership talent rather than candidates who are merely technically qualified.  While it takes a multi-tiered approach to adequately address project leadership needs, talent acquisition is the first and most crucial step.

Traditional staffing companies use a wholesale approach of providing a large pile of “good-enough” resumes.  While sifting through some basic functional, on-paper requirements is sufficient for lower-level, technical roles, project leadership positions require a deeper dig. Project success relies on applying these functional skills in real-life scenarios where difficult trade-offs need to be made, which requires a unique combination of leadership, negotiation, collaboration, keen judgment, strong interpersonal skills, and situational awareness.

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Traditional staffing firms aren’t equipped to discern these “soft skills” that make a candidate a true leader. It takes a boutique agency with a specific focus on project leadership positions, a network of vetted project management professionals,  and a keen understanding of project processes to recognize these talents.

The onus should be on the staffing organization to provide a small field of bullseye candidates, rather than drop a pile of “qualified” resume on your desk and expect you to find a good fit among them.  This requires a two-stage verification process.

In the first stage, a staffing company gets within a “6-inch bullseye” for both the requirement and the potential candidates by:

  • Verifying client responsiveness
  • Honing skill and experience requirements
  • Vetting candidates through their resume and two phone screens

The second phone screen is with a project management expert who can ask the hard-hitting questions that are directly relevant to the project needs of the client. The expert needs to be qualified to get to the bottom of the candidate’s real-world results that demonstrate they are a true leader in a way that a simple “recruiter” never could.

The second stage gets within a “1-inch”bullseye:

  • Deeper screening against the fine-tuned requirements
  • References, drug screening
  • Skype/Face-to-face meeting
  • Culture match to client environment

Any breach in this process leaves your organization open to taking on a subpar candidate, which comes at a high cost.

Next, we will cover integrating this talent into your organization’s process and culture.

Posted in Project Staffing | Tagged , ,

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Getting Beyond PMPs and Staffing Excellent Project Leaders

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Traditional staffing firms are tried-and-true at placing professionals into technical roles, but a different approach is needed to place project managers. PMP certified skills are enough to make a candidate qualified on paper, but the soft skills and nuances that allows project managers to fit in an organization and excel as leaders require expertise beyond most staffing firms.

A multi-tiered approach is necessary to find, acquire, and adopt talent into an organization to ensure success. (more…)

Posted in General Project Management, Project Staffing | Tagged , , ,

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Types of Variances: The Different Variance Fields in Microsoft Project

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In our last post, we covered the differences between Favorable and Unfavorable Variances. This post will cover the differences between the various Variance Types in Microsoft Project. The below summarizes the variances, how they’re calculated and where they can be viewed: (more…)

Posted in General Project Management, Microsoft Project, Theory | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

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Types of Variances: Favorable versus Unfavorable

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In project management terms, a variance is the difference between the anticipated state of the project and the actual state at a particular point in time. At the beginning of the project, when the planned schedule, budget, scope, etc. have just been calculated, the actual state and the predicted state are exactly the same. There are no variances. This is the point at which the project should be baselined.

As time progresses, the execution of the project may not follow the plan exactly. For example, if a task starts later than it was scheduled to start, there is a difference between the baseline Start date and the actual Start date for the task. The actual Start date is later (greater) than the baseline Start and the difference between these two dates is a positive number – there is a positive variance. As you can imagine given this example, a positive variance is unfavorable. In this case, where a task is late to start, subsequent tasks may also be delayed, and the recalculated schedule may show a Finish delay. (more…)

Posted in General Project Management, Theory | Tagged , , , , ,

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Replacing Resources on Task Assignments in Microsoft Project

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In our last post, we covered several different ways of assigning tasks to resources. This post will cover the decisions around changing task assignments and technique on how to do it in Microsoft Project.

(more…)

Posted in Microsoft Project, Resource Management, Technical How-To | Tagged , , , , , ,

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How to Assign Resources to a Task in Microsoft Project

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The following guide demonstrates how you can assign resources in various ways and avoid some overallocations by using tools available through the Assign Resources dialog box. These techniques apply whether you are working with local resources or those from the enterprise resource pool.

We will cover Assigning Resources in the Split Screen View, Using the Assign Resources Dialog, Assigning Multiple Tasks to One Resource, and Assigning Multiple Resources to Tasks.

(more…)

Posted in Microsoft Project, Resource Management, Technical How-To | Tagged , , , , , , ,

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Assigning a Resource to a Task: Introduction

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Microsoft Project 2013 enables you to assign resources to tasks in a variety of ways. Resource assignments clarify responsibility for doing tasks and also help you to determine how long a task will take and how much it will cost.

This series will demonstrate how you can assign resources in various ways and avoid some overallocations, working with both local resources or those from the enterprise resource pool.  Read below for an introduction on how this works, or click on the appropriate post to follow the How-To guides:

Part 2: Assigning a Resource to a Task

Part 3: Replacing Resources on Task Assignments

(more…)

Posted in Microsoft Project, Resource Management, Technical How-To | Tagged , , , , ,

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Reporting Made Easy: Using the Copy Picture Command

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One way to use the communication power of the Gantt Chart view is to photograph it and send the picture as part of another document (e-mail, webpage, PowerPoint, etc.).

Below are the steps for doing this. (more…)

Posted in Microsoft Project, Technical How-To | Tagged , , ,

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Finding the Right Information in Microsoft Project

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The “trick” to using Microsoft Project effectively is first to know what type of information you are looking for and then to know which view you can use to display this information. A view is a set of formatting instructions that tells Microsoft Project what data to present and how to organize it into useful information so that each view displays a unique combination of project information. Once you are in the correct view, you can modify the display to view the exact information you require, as described later.

Views in Microsoft Project 2013 can be categorized into sheet views, chart and graph views, and form views. Each of the available views will provide different presentations of project information.

(more…)

Posted in General Project Management, Microsoft Project | Tagged , , , , , ,

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How to Do Project Management Staffing Right

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As the economy recovers, capital spend is returning to perform more projects, increasing the demand for qualified project resources.  Unfortunately, leadership for these new projects and programs cannot always come from within.  The organization may be unable to secure long-term funding for full-time employees and so have to seek out contract work, or the internal staff might simply not have the necessary skills or experience available for critical roles.

When seeking outside talent, a myriad of common challenges arise, including unrealistic timelines, unclear requirements, and process gaps between the organization and its staffing partner.  But far and away the biggest challenge when staffing project managers is an overemphasis on technical skills for a leadership position. (more…)

Posted in General Project Management, Project Leadership, Project Staffing | Tagged , , , , , ,

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