Newsletter – July 2018

Do you know what’s in your project management talent pipeline?

If you don’t, how can you put your best project managers on the projects that define the future of your business?

At GBMC, we’ve noticed that companies with a pipeline seem to know that their businesses depend on it. Businesses grow through projects that are aligned with their strategies, and project managers grow through being in your talent pipeline.
Last month, we discussed the importance of having a standard by which to measure acquisition of project management skills. This month, let’s cover how to feed and review the project manager talent pipeline.

There are three key concepts to remember:

1. Know your inputs.

Develop or use an existing method for testing potential. Many companies make the mistake of “doubling down” on the performance part of a project manager’s potential without realizing they should also look at an employee’s potential to lead, learn, and leverage company assets. You may have project managers who get results on their projects today, but may not be able to grow into projects with larger scope and scale. Assess everyone you’re considering promoting.

2. Review your pipeline periodically.

Depending on your business and the frequency with which you require more highly skilled project managers, gather top executives together to do a talent review. Your top executives should know your project managers and be engaged in seeking them out and paving the way for them to grow. If this is difficult to do, that should be your first clue that top leadership is not connecting project management talent with the success of the business. This is not a Human Resources activity nor is it a performance appraisal. It’s a business imperative.

3. Invest in the rising stars.

This is a hard one. In many companies, we want to be “fair.” We hope to give everyone an equal chance. But think of the way we might manage an investment portfolio. Many times, we have to set sentiment aside and bet on the winners. We advise you to invest heavily in those with the most potential to grow your business. If your method for assessing potential is research-based, reliable, and repeatable, you will see a return on the resources you spend to select and develop your future superstars. Spend with extreme prejudice.

Now you know how to feed and review your talent pipeline for improving your business,. You can see that there is a way to allocate precious development resources. One additional leadership responsibility is to calculate the throughput your business requires. Some companies know how many project managers they need to develop over how much time. In other words, how many project managers need to be in the pipeline – how many going in and coming out. It gives executives a line of sight into how many projects they could or should take on in their 3-5 year or 10 year strategic plans.


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Past newsletters are available here


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