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Topics: Governance
On-boarding new PMs without experience
I am looking to enhance our on-boarding of new Project Managers that do not have any experience or training. Does anyone have a checklist or ideal training for employees who are new to Project Management?
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Linsey -

Three helpful steps are:

1. Send them on a short (2-3 day max) PM fundamentals class
2. Assign them as a PCO/PA on a project or two supporting a seasoned PM
3. Help to find them a mentor

Hi Lindsey,

I would also invest in a Project Management Institute membership (global and local Chapter) for each of the Project Managers. The membership would give them access to a multitude of PM fundamental learning opportunties that are high quality and "budget friendly".

All the best,
After putting new PM's through fundamentals training I assign them one of the low-priority projects I keep on hand specifically for issuing to new PMs. This requires me to spend time closely monitoring they're progress and providing constant feedback, but I've found this is the fastest way to progress new PMs past project management theory to transform them into capable performers.
There are some good answers here. I would only add that if the budget is tight, there are a number of webinars available online for free. Assign the webinars to everyone so that they have the same baseline.
1 reply by Linsey Ackerman
Aug 16, 2019 9:21 AM
Linsey Ackerman
Thanks Bob. I see we are close, i am in Nashville!
In addition to the above, familiarization with the business is very valuable. If you have not seen the end to end process before to go from concept to delivered product, individual steps don't make much sense because you don't see the overall context. I spend a lot of time with new-hires whether to PM or our business as a whole is helping them understand how they are supporting the bigger picture.

We also have a number of required short training modules on things like, specific regulations, don't bribe government officials, don't plug the thumb drive you found on the floor at a trade show into your work computer, etc.
Kudos to you Linsey .

But I can tell you , out there in the industry , not many companies think like you .

They won't touch brand new PMs with a 10 foot barge pole .

They want you to walk in with loads of experience under your belt .
I too am happy to see a company considering hiring without or with little experience. I am a career changer so I have plenty of work experience with strong customer service and have run into the wall of not having enough PM experience under my belt. I do have PM certificate of completion and some experience that I am winging it as I go. Would love to work under a senior level PM to learn more.
I can speak from the perspective of the newbie I was about seven years ago. I joined the PM team from within the company. The director brought me in as a project management specialist and groomed me for the PM manager position, which I was promoted into about two years later.

During that two-year period, I took the initiative to take basic project management classes online through ed2go (inexpensive), which helped me understand terminology, tools and basic fundamentals of the practice, and led to a CAPM. In the meantime, my director had me do the back shop work for the team such as process mapping, user guides and updating templates. Then she assigned me to manage interns for an internal project, setting up checkpoints for me to present her with milestone deliverables to monitor my progress.

If I were on-boarding someone new today, I would follow the same path: Hire someone self-motivated to learn, encourage this person to research and utilize external sources of learning, delegate tasks that support experienced PMs and assign an internal project with close monitoring. It worked for me!
1 reply by Machela Knox
Mar 31, 2020 3:54 PM
Machela Knox
Last year I had opening for two staff members in our PMO. My only project manager was retiring and I setup our PMO org chart for a Project Specialist, Project Coordinator, and a Project Manager. I hired our former Training Manager for the Specialist, and a Project Coordinator with a Project Management Degree and experience. Can you guess who has been the rock star?
What it does mean that your organization is giving a project manager role to people that never performed the role before? If that the case bad news: the Peter Principle. Good news. each person in this world is performing project management from the time they wake up to the time then go to bed. The point is the degree of formality they are doing that. So, when I am in your situation what I do is this: 1-take the method to managing projects defined into the organization. The method will have process life cycle, tools and techniques plus the governance component. 2-train people on the method. Do not train the people on project management by the book. 3-forget about to send the people to formal training. What you need is people trained on your organization way to perform project management.
My idea of on-boarding is taking someone with a skills set and getting them familiar with a new environment. In your case, it sounds like you are talking training, if not outright education.

As Sergio pointed out, it is interesting that you have to train project managers in project management. Usually you have to get the project management before you get to be called project manager.

Getting off my soapbox, you will need to provide your new project managers with an environment and experience that support and encourage them in their learning and growth. This is more than simply training. It's a whole experiential culture where people can fail and not be punished for it. It's a world where you learn by doing.
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