Acquire and Motivate Staff

A major problem for the PM is the fact that most of the people needed for a project must be “borrowed”. With few exceptions, they are borrowed from functional departments. The PM must negotiate with functional department managers for the desired staff and then, if successful, negotiate with the people themselves to convince them to take on these challenging temporary project assignments.

Most functional managers cooperate when the PM comes looking for good people for the project, but the cooperative spirit has its limits. The PM will be soliciting the services of the two types of people most needed and appreciated by the functional manager: first, individuals with scarce but necessary skills and, second, the best producers. Both the PM and the functional manager are fully aware that the PM does not want a “has been.” A “never was” or a “never will be”. Perceptions about the capabilities of individuals may differ, but the PM is usually trying to borrow precisely those people the functional manager would most like to keep.

A second problem may reduce the functional manager’s willingness to cooperate with the PM’s search for quality people. Sometimes the functional manager may perceive the project as more glamorous than his or her role, and therefore a potent source of managerial glory. Therefore, the functional manager may be a bit jealous or suspicious of the PM, a person who may have little interest in the routine work of the functional area, even if he is the bread and butter of the organization.

At first glance, the task of motivating good people to join the project does not seem to be difficult, because the type of people most desired as members of a project team are those who are naturally attracted to challenge and variety. inherent in the project work. In fact, it wouldn’t be difficult except for the fact that the functional manager is trying to keep the same people the PM is trying to attract.

The subordinate who is being seduced out of the stable life of the functional area by the glamor of a project can be gently reminded that the functional manager retains control of staff appraisal, salary, and promotion for those latecomers. to the projects.

Unless the PM can hire external people with proven ability, it is not easy to bring together competent people; but having gathered them, they must be motivated to work. Because the functional manager controls pay and promotion, the PM can’t promise much beyond the challenge of the job itself.

Motivation problems are often less severe for routine and repeated projects, such as construction, or for projects carried out as the sole activity of an organization. In such cases, the PM is likely to have considerable de facto influence over salary and promotion. The framework of these projects is often perceived as temporary, risky, and important, but all the PM can offer people is the opportunity to work on a high-visibility, challenging task, be “needed,” and operate in a supportive environment. climate. For most, this is incentive enough to join the project.

A story goes that when asked “How do you motivate astronauts?” a NASA representative responded, “We don’t motivate them, but, boy, are we careful who we select.” The topic of motivating people to join and work creatively on a project is very much related to the type of people who are invited to join. The most effective team members have some common characteristics. Below is a list of the most important ones, but normally only the first one is considered during the usual selection process.

1. High quality technical skill.
2. Political sensitivity
3. Strong problem orientation
4. Strong goal orientation
5. High self-esteem

There is no real way of knowing if a particular resource will be a good fit for a project team, and acquiring and motivating them can be a political minefield at best, with the continuing justification to functional management that their resources are necessary, and convincing them during a slow period of projects is particularly demanding. The role of the PM here is to negotiate, negotiate, negotiate and motivate to the best of his ability. If you’re good at it, and this comes with experience, you’ll not only get the resources you need, but they’ll more than likely stick around and enjoy the challenge of the project along the way, all with the blessing of functional managers.

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