In an industry like biotech, a high level of technical skill is required to see a project through to a successful conclusion. However, unassailable technical knowledge isn’t enough. Plenty of highly trained wonks end up as terrible project managers.
That’s because a good PM needs more than technical chops. Leadership is a separate skill. Actually, leadership consists of a collection of skills; a web of competencies that allows a manager to get the most out of their team and deliver the best possible outcome with the resources allotted.
So, when choosing a project manager, don’t go into the process with blinders on. Don’t just promote the top performer on the team or bring in the applicant with the most impressive CV. Little things matter.
With that in mind, here are five nontechnical skills to keep in mind when choosing a biotech project manager:
Works Toward Concrete Goals
Unfocused objectives can signal an impending boondoggle, especially in a capital-intensive field like biotech. A good project manager will know exactly what a program is supposed to accomplish. They will define the goals in concrete terms, and outline a clear measure of success for the final outcome.
Moreover, a good PM will be able to set workable intermediate goals. This will allow you to track their progress and let the team evaluate their progression toward the ultimate outcome.
Solves the Little Things
People hate micromanagers. However, many of these same people unconsciously invite micromanagement by not focusing enough on solving the small problems on their own.
You don’t want to get involved in the minutiae of every project. That’s the point of having someone else leading the team. Look for people who can operate without supervision, people with the appropriate level of creativity and confidence to figure out how to work around the smaller roadblocks without getting you involved.
Keeps in Touch
You don’t want to solve every little thing. But you don’t want complete radio silence either.
See if this is familiar: A project gets weeks into development when you discover that the PM has completely misunderstood the goals, or gone a long distance down a road that won’t fit in with what other teams are doing.
Avoid this issue by hiring a project manager who will provide appropriate updates and keep you in the loop.
Energizes and Inspires
Seeing a project from concept to completion can require a long slog. People get tired. They get frustrated. They get on each other’s nerves. A PM needs to be able to keep everyone upbeat and on the same page.
Getting the most out of team members can mean the difference between a mediocre result and a result that truly elevates the company’s performance. Look for a project manager who inspires and energizes, who builds real team spirit.
Acts as Jargon Translator
Highly technical pursuits, like biotech, come with a lot of specialized knowledge. That means a lot jargon. When talking to other people in the company, or with potential clients or investors, this shoptalk can create a barrier to effective communication.
Your project manager will act as point person for their team. They need to be able to describe what they’ve accomplished and what they plan to achieve in terms everyone can understand. Look for people who can break down esoteric information into terms everyone can appreciate.
Finding well-rounded talent makes the difference between an average PM and one who will truly add value to a team. By partnering with a recruiter, you increase your chances of finding the perfect fit for what you’re trying to accomplish. Contact our PrideStaff Bend recruiters today to learn what our staffing services can do for you.