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Project Staff Career Path
Anonymous
Any suggestions to help support restructuring existing Project Manager team (4) to create career paths for project managers?
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Sounds like you're in a flat organization structure especially within the PM team - the next level is outside project management Ideally you want a mixture of seniors and juniors so that there is a career path for the juniors.

If the intent is to move within the existing organization, find out what your boss does and get ready for it.

If the intent is to move within project management, move to a firm with a stronger/deeper project management core.
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1 reply by Clarissa Elliott
Apr 06, 2020 4:49 PM
Clarissa Elliott
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Thank you for your reply. It is a flat organization of 4 PMs. All the PMs are salaried in the same grade, however, the do not have the same levels of experience. I want to have 2 jr. positions, 2 senior position. HR has said the team is not `large' enough for the distinctions. I want to build a case that its not the size but the quality, any suggestions?
Is the current Project Management team consisting of PMs and create a path for them - or - are you planning to start onboarding others from your organization onto your project management team?

In any case, I would get your boss and HR on the same page.
Whether you have HR or not, your biggest consideration would be to determine long-term support and consequences of the plan. Creating such a plan and leaving it to its own life is a waste of time.
There would have to be a Champion of this initiative who runs it for an infinite time, so consider SWOT analysis and benefit/loss scenarios before starting this initiative.

In my opinion, once a person reaches PM level, the only way to grow in the business hierarchy is to replace their manager. While professionally - business can give the person more interesting projects but after a while all of them will revolve around same business technology, same people, same problems - so growth will be limited (unless you have true build-innovate-destroy business culture).
Thus, a PM who wants to grow will either has to leave the firm - or start vertical growth on their own concurrently to working for your firm - which means that both cannot be controlled by your business, or the "growth plan".

If PM has good people skills and knows the product, then "promoting" PM to different positions and titles within the firm makes perfect sense.
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1 reply by anonymous
Apr 06, 2020 4:54 PM
anonymous
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the current tea consists of PMs and Change Managers. I want the ability to bring people in at different levels. Presently they all come in the same grade regardless of experience and skill. HR said since the team is only 4 people we are not large enough to have this career path. I want o provide a business case that the focus should be on quality not quantity. Any ideas?
Apr 02, 2020 9:00 AM
Replying to Peter Rapin
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Sounds like you're in a flat organization structure especially within the PM team - the next level is outside project management Ideally you want a mixture of seniors and juniors so that there is a career path for the juniors.

If the intent is to move within the existing organization, find out what your boss does and get ready for it.

If the intent is to move within project management, move to a firm with a stronger/deeper project management core.
Thank you for your reply. It is a flat organization of 4 PMs. All the PMs are salaried in the same grade, however, the do not have the same levels of experience. I want to have 2 jr. positions, 2 senior position. HR has said the team is not `large' enough for the distinctions. I want to build a case that its not the size but the quality, any suggestions?
Anonymous
Apr 02, 2020 3:37 PM
Replying to Andrew Soswa
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Is the current Project Management team consisting of PMs and create a path for them - or - are you planning to start onboarding others from your organization onto your project management team?

In any case, I would get your boss and HR on the same page.
Whether you have HR or not, your biggest consideration would be to determine long-term support and consequences of the plan. Creating such a plan and leaving it to its own life is a waste of time.
There would have to be a Champion of this initiative who runs it for an infinite time, so consider SWOT analysis and benefit/loss scenarios before starting this initiative.

In my opinion, once a person reaches PM level, the only way to grow in the business hierarchy is to replace their manager. While professionally - business can give the person more interesting projects but after a while all of them will revolve around same business technology, same people, same problems - so growth will be limited (unless you have true build-innovate-destroy business culture).
Thus, a PM who wants to grow will either has to leave the firm - or start vertical growth on their own concurrently to working for your firm - which means that both cannot be controlled by your business, or the "growth plan".

If PM has good people skills and knows the product, then "promoting" PM to different positions and titles within the firm makes perfect sense.
the current tea consists of PMs and Change Managers. I want the ability to bring people in at different levels. Presently they all come in the same grade regardless of experience and skill. HR said since the team is only 4 people we are not large enough to have this career path. I want o provide a business case that the focus should be on quality not quantity. Any ideas?
If you are military, it would be easy - they have grades for everyone.
I understand HR, among many, I can think of two issues they would have to resolve: (1) creating different grades is a lot of overhead to manage (i.e. criteria who belongs to what grade, how is advancement to another grade measure, compensation, what's after 2nd grade, etc) and (2) dealing with team dynamics when some are lower and some higher grade (i.e. "I am lower grade and it's not my job responsibility" or "I'm higher grade and this work is beneath me").

If it is issue of more/less money - it also resonates a lot of rather negative feelings around (not everyone is of a mindset that "I'm fairly compensated and I don't care what others make")

You can deal with this distinction informally, i.e. keep rotating PMs on tougher and easier projects, your best players will float to the top naturally, and the hierarchy will be established by meritocracy (versus someone opinion, even if it is quantifiable, of someone's skills and performance - because you cannot perform blind study assessment on your team)

If you want to "conquer & divide" this team - ensure that all these issues are constantly driven to their head, the pecking order, who makes more, who works on better/easier projects, etc. (not that I recommend it b/c it is questionably unethical)

However, if you want to invest in the team, recognize the leaders, and give ability for laggards to come to the top - you need a different strategy than creating grades.
Maybe you should reframe the question?

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