More than project management skill that Employer is looking for

Today I had a 3rd interview with the IT Manager’s Boss (1st on the phone, 2nd was a face-to-face with the IT Manager) .  It was seem like a causal chat but 2 main points were raised – 1.to find out why you are looking for a contract job and the commitment, 2.the importance of the project/conflicts I will be working on if selected.  With the above points and what I had gone through to understand the role, I am very sure that I am looking forward for doing this project in 6 months’ period.

I understand why the Hiring Manager is re-emphasising these 2 pointers as this is a critical project and the Customer are not firm on their decisions.  Not most people can commit for contract jobs because it is not a long-term job, as much to people in Singapore where people are still ‘out-dated’ on having stable rice bowls.  Look at it this way, in the field of Information Technology where its functions are no longer a business unit but a cost center to a Company, short-terms plannings are done to substain the Company’s operations and IT projects are coming in if there are budgets or approval costs from Companies to proceed.  Anytime if there is no IT project coming in, IT staff are the first to lay-off (of course, contracts are the first to go, then later followed by permanent staff if required).  Hence there is no longer ‘stable rice bowl’ in the IT arena.  Contract/outsourcing is the market now and we have to change our mindsets.  Another additional point is that contract allows flexibility to my time as I love to travel for my vacations (In Singapore, we only have 15 days of leave for 1 year which is not enough for me who like to go away for 2 weeks’ overseas vacation 😉 )

The 2nd point mentioned, I can see that this project is running tight on schedule and not allowing itself to fall into penalities if not able to deliver.  At the same time, I do see the project team I be working for (if selected) has conflicts with Customer (as mentioned from the Hiring Manager as he spoke).  He kept mentioning that this position has to be firm but flexible so I believe there are situations that we need to assess accordingly to give leeways.  What I see at it that probably in situations when Customer (assume) is not aware of project management or technical expects of the project. As a project manager, not only he/she is to carry out the needed project management (PM) tasks, I personally feel that being a consultant to them adds value to the whole project.  Being firm on the project scopes/agreements is one item, on another hand, Customer may have other needs that they have not yet achieved and the project manager is to add as a consultant to provide advices to them in order to get things move on and the Customer will see the value adds from him/her as well.  Of course, this pointer is based on my own past working experiences and may apply on certain situations. 

Anyway, it is important that client management, building relationships with Customers is very important.  To build a relationship is that one is to be able to listen to the Customer and advices to meet their needs.  Eventually, regardless whether you are dealing with an external or internal customer the ultimate goal is to achieve the project objectives on time and on budget. 😉

Right now, I shall wait for another 2 days to see if I will be selected.


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October 2007
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