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Best Practices for Staffing Project Leaders: Setting Requirements

In this series, we provide in-depth coverage of each of the steps in the staffing process.

This post will cover Communicate process and define requirements.

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Requirements Definition

When your organization finds there are skills lacking to perform a project, the first step is to identify the requirement, then approve and budget for it.

Then, there needs to be an in-depth discussion of what you need. This is the requirements definition process. This process must be intensive because it will drive the search and frequently be reprised and revised if the ideal “Ten-out-of-Ten” candidate isn’t readily available. What you put in is what you get out. The more generic the requirements are, the more time all parties will spend on fruitless cycles searching and reviewing imperfect candidates. The reprisals and revisions will continue until the requirements are accurate, so it is best to do the work up-front to avoid costly trial and error.

If you’re asking someone to get milk from the store, you need to decide whether it’s chocolate or regular milk before wasting man-hours searching for the wrong item. Inaccurate or non-specific inputs will give you the wrong outputs, and there are considerable costs in wasting cycles on the wrong candidates.

Decide what the right ratio of technical versus leadership talent is for this role. Also, what demeanor and disposition will the candidate need in order to be a culture fit.

Communicate the Process

Next, you need to set realistic expectations for price and timeline depending on how stringent the requirements are. Pricing is key. Too low of a price, you will have inexperienced candidates as well as a potential flight risk. The market and industry standards will dictate the price.

To illustrate how much detail you will need, here is an example position requirement information form:

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Once you develop a clear position description, confirm the process and cadence for the screening and selection phase. This sets realistic expectations of how things will progress and will result in a project management staffing plan and timeline for the interview, selection, and hiring. In the case where an organization is using a staffing firm, this will make up the substance of the Service Level Agreement. It will ensure that there are no process or timing gaps between the two organizations that let top talent slip through the cracks.

Ensure the internal constituents are on the same page, including Human Resources, Finance, project team members, hiring manager, and stakeholders. They all need to be in agreement on the various priorities each party may have, for example: cost, speed, various skills. If there are disagreements, resolve them now so that the expectations are in alignment with everyone’s desires and deliverable realities.

Click here to read about the next step, Initiate Search.

You can access our full Staffing white paper here.

For more help on navigating the challenges of project management, contact our experts today.