Project Management and the Temporary Engineer

Posted by Rachel Matthews

Temp Project Management and the Temporary Engineer
A ‘temp’ is a temporary employee, often hired for a time-sensitive project. In general, most temps are acquired through a staffing agency.
It’s crucial to choose the right temps for your project. As the project manager, it’s up to you to complete the assignment to the bosses’ standards, but this can’t be done if the engineers you hired aren’t competent. The solution is hiring people you can count on, and the following is advice to help ensure that your next temp is hard-working, reliable, and fully competent to perform the task.

Choose a Reputable Staffing Agency

If you’re finding your temporary employees on websites, such as LinkedIn and Craigslist, you’re basing your decision on the word of the potential temp. How do you know Susie Q is really a COE (College of Engineering) graduate? How do you verify that she’s telling the truth about her education and experience? Unfortunately, even employers can be catfished. To avoid this pitfall, hire a staffing agency.

A reputable staffing agency is going to fully vet their candidates, ensuring your temp is fully qualified for your project. The staffing agency will verify the temp’s references, education, background, and employment history. They may perform screenings and background checks, saving you the headache of performing these tasks yourself.

The Right Temp for the Job

If your project is very specific, you’ll want to choose a staffing agency that’s also specific. For example, engineering placement agencies specialize in staffing a range of fully qualified engineers. These temps will understand the various mechanics involved in development, computing, and testing. Some will specialize in robotics, while others will be trained in computer design. Because the agency specializes in engineers, you’ll have a larger pool of engineers to choose from. Thus, you’ll guarantee yourself a temp that’s fully qualified to work on your project.

“Your business can realize service excellence delivered at its highest level of performance: through a fully scalable range of engineering workforce solutions, led by a tenured staff for more efficient, consistent outcomes,” writes Kelly services, on a page that details their engineering workforce solutions.

Choose a Team Player

It never hurts to select candidates based on their team experience. Ask potential candidates, “Have you ever worked on a team before?” If her answer is yes, ask her to detail the experience to you. If the engineer hasn’t worked on a team before, it’s up to you whether or not to give her the job. (If her attitude is positive, and you believe she’ll be an asset, give her a shot. Alternatively, if she has a negative attitude, it’s probably not a good idea to work with her.)

Non-Disclosure Agreements

Some people don’t have great ethics. If your project involves new ideas (ideas which can be stolen), you may want to ask any temporary employees to sign a non-disclosure agreement. This agreement is going to protect your project, and any subsequent ideas. You don’t want your temp to steal your hard work.

A non-disclosure agreement protects trade secrets. It’s a contract that forbids parties to share (disclose) confidential information. If your temp spills the beans on any new ideas you’re fleshing out, you’ll be able to sue her in court.

From Temp to Permanent

If you find a temp engineer you like working with, don’t be afraid to request that worker for your future projects. Keep in mind that she may not consistently be available, especially if she’s in demand. The only way to guarantee her availability is to offer her a permanent position in your company.

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Rachel Matthews is a freelance writer with a background in business who’s been relying on her entrepreneurial skill set since she was in high school.  She enjoys writing about anything from health and beauty to current political news.”

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6 Ways To Personalise Your Mind Maps

Posted by Elizabeth Harrin

MP900438771 300x270 6 Ways To Personalise Your Mind MapsWhether you are experienced at mind mapping or just starting out; whether you use them occasionally for project meetings or for a range of diagramming needs, you can personalise your mind maps to get them looking just right. Here are some of the features you can use to make your mind maps really stand out.

1. Use colours

Colour can add meaning. Red symbolises things that might be a problem. Green symbolises features that you definitely want to include. Blue represents features that have already been delivered… you get the picture. You can create a ‘colour index’ for your project so that everyone understands the options and can ‘read’ the colours at a glance.

iMindQ lets you change the colour of the whole map in a graduated format, with level one topics showing as darker on the map with subsequent levels getting lighter in colour. You can also change the background pattern and the colours of lines and boundaries so you can make it look exactly how you want. Try not to add in too many colours; it’s normally better to stick to one or two and use variations on a theme instead of adding in every colour that you possibly can. Read more »

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Are lower salaries hitting project managers?

Posted by Elizabeth Harrin

j0400897 300x250 Are lower salaries hitting project managers?New research from Arras People says that 46% of project managers can’t find a job that meets their salary expectations. The Project Management Confidence Index concludes that project managers don’t feel that the UK economy has bounced back sufficiently for them to move into a new job and that living standards are still pinched.

The flip side of this is that 55% of respondents said that they found it difficult to recruit project and programme managers and that it was hard to fill roles. The research authors speculate that this might be because recruiters are still thinking in terms of it being a buyer’s market: in other words, they can set the levels of remuneration and very high standards with regards to what they are looking for in a candidate. Many companies are still operating with restrictions on packages and salaries, so there seems to be a big disconnect between what hiring managers are prepared to offer and what candidates are prepared to take.

In the meantime, candidates aren’t moving roles for positions as it could be a risky move. Project practitioners aren’t predicting that salaries will increase, either. Only 12% believe that salaries will rise above the level of inflation with the vast majority of people (37%) reporting that they think pay levels will stay the same.

So if you are struggling with the choice between leaving a job for more money or staying put, what should you do? Read more »

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How to keep on top of your projects

Posted by Elizabeth Harrin

j0400507 300x240 How to keep on top of your projectsDo you find yourself struggling to keep on top of your projects? With information flows coming from multiple sources these days – social collaboration tools, email, a matrixed team, demands from stakeholders – it can feel as if you are completely overloaded. There are ways that you can keep control of it all and deal with the data! Read on…

Create alerts

If your project management tools allow it, set up alerts so that you are automatically notified of changes. Many products have this feature, so find out how to use it and set it up appropriately. You might not want to have alerts for every new discussion, but you may want to know if someone has changed a milestone on your project plan, for example.

I also have Google alerts set up to notify me of interesting things happening in the field – things that might have an impact on my project or the political landscape. Read more »

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How to stop your project slowing down in the holidays

Posted by Elizabeth Harrin

beach 300x240 How to stop your project slowing down in the holidaysAre you still at work while your colleagues are off on vacation? The holiday period – whether that’s during the summer, during the end of year or at any other point where it’s normal for people in your country to take time off – can see your project coming to a halt. Everything takes longer if you can’t find the resources and get responses to queries.

Here’s how to stop your project slowing right down during the quiet times.

Plan for vacations

Make sure you know when people on your project team are going to be away. Talk to everyone at the beginning of the project and check when they have plans to take vacations. As the project manager, you may not be able to approve or reject their leave requests (the line manager will do this) but you can at least be made aware of them.

Put those dates on your project schedule. Review the tasks scheduled for when you know when team members are going to be away, and make any amendments to your resource allocation plans to enable work to continue during these times. Read more »

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