Hiring Managers admit they need Agile PMs

In a recently “very candid” conversation with several long time clients, I asked them what they really wanted and needed from their PMs and Team Leaders?  Everything they said described….

Agile PMs are exactly what they needed.

This is what they shared they needed:

  • “We don’t care how they do the project – we want them to do what is best for the Project”

I loved this answer actually, because it told me they were more interested in delivering value to their customers than following a bunch of processes just for the sake of following a process.  Many of them know their PMO’s have put process in place to help, but many of the hiring managers are wondering if there are too many processes and starting to make projects less productive !

Process doesn’t make a project succeed – people do.

They believe the “right” people make a project succeed, especially the people leading the projects.   So when I shared the traits of an Agile PM with them – they got very excited and asked how they can find and hire them.  Agile PMs know when and where to use project methodologies, practices, and tools.   It is not always a cookie cutter answer – especially in IT projects that tend to be more complex with changing team resources.

I recommended they put the skills they want in the job descriptions – and interview for them.   Don’t just rely on someone having some certification.   Certifications tell you they knows about and how a methodology works – but it doesn’t tell you they know where and when to use this knowledge for all the types of projects out there to manage.

  • We need Confident PMs

They wanted people with skills to make decisions and stand behind them with good reasons when asked why they decided the way they did.  They felt that teams nor management would follow them if they lacked confidence and didn’t know why they were doing things.

Isn’t this true of most leaders in our lives.   We follow those that exude confidence, but we don’t just want to follow them blindly.  We should be asking and challenging them before we buy in and follow them as sheep to the slaughter.

Great Agile PMs will be able to make great decisions and advise management by involving the team, the customer, and management throughout a project so that decision making is done most effectively with the most recent and best data known.

  • We need PMs with Courage to speak up — Not just “Yes” people

They don’t projects with issues that are not addressed because  PMs and teams to be afraid to speak up and take ownership of the project’s success.   That is where Agile PMs and teams are perfect….they manage and mitigate risk every step of the project, not just at the beginning.   Agile PMs use frequent retrospectives during the project to keep a pulse on what is working, what is not, how to make it better, how to remove risks.

I also shared that they want PMs that are intelligently disobedient, that caught their attention.  They asked what that was.  And I explained that it was where PMs know when and how to depart from the norm in opinions, cultural standards and processes – taking leadership responsibilities very seriously. Which means they have the courage to do right for your team, the customer, themselves and the organization — not letting fear say all is well when it is not ok.

This is tough and harder to find now a days with people are holding onto their jobs with everything they have.   Afraid to speak up.  So I told them they need to interview for this skill in their situational interview techniques. Find out if they had courage in the past, if they didn’t they sure won’t have it moving forward.

There were other responses I will write more about, but the bottom line is they were telling me that ….


Not just PMs that report status or create a project plan.  But PM’s that have project practices and tools they can decide are best to leverage for the project at hand.

Competition is hot and getting hotter in this USA market place — and PMs need to have these skills to help companies stand out and bring value to their customers quickly.   Do projects the best way possible – take ownership – speak up – with your teams !

Sometimes just knowing what what hiring managers really need can help.

You might also like a blog post from the author of MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It, and How to Get It Back When you Lose It ! – Marshall Goodsmith – suggesting how leaders can be more self-confidence

** I’d love to hear your thoughts …add your comments below or email me directly at donna@AgilistaPM.com.

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