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Everyone Can Learn From Evaluations
While many projects evaluate the performance of team members, it is also important to conduct a performance evaluation for project managers as a regular part of the project's closing phase. By taking the time to evaluate project manager performance as well as the performance of team members, you gain a new perspective. Useful evaluations have the team members evaluate the project manager's ability to lead and organize the project; the project manager perform a self-evaluation; and relevant stakeholders record their thoughts.
It is important to include what worked and what didn't work during the project's life cycle, and to do so honestly and without fear of retribution. Therefore, the evaluations by team members the manager has direct responsibility for should be anonymous. When asking managers that directly oversee the project manager's work, the evaluation can be either anonymous or not. Before you read the following descriptions, be sure that you check out the free project manager performance evaluation template so you may follow along.
Screenshot and Template by Ronda Levine
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Generic Project Information
The top two sections of the performance evaluation for project managers fill in the human resources department and stakeholders about who the project manager was, what department the project manager is a part of, and what the project name is. You'll also notice a small section for a description of the project manager's duties with the project in question. In this section give a pithy description of the project and any special tasks the project manager took on.
For example, imagine the project manager was in charge of a software development project. The section, "Description of duties in relation to project" might include something like "Overseeing team members and facilitating relations between programmers and testers."
This information can be typed in directly to the template if you like, or you can have employees fill this in. It can be telling on an evaluation to see how team members describe the project manager's duties. You can learn what the project manager did that was above and beyond their general duties and you can learn what the project manager did not do that she should have. How? If team members don't know what the project manager's duties were - and it's a consistent thing across all team members - then you know you have a problem.
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Project Manager's Strengths
Here, the evaluator will enumerate the project manager's strengths. Encourage the evaluators to think hard about what they write and to be honest. If there were no strengths, note that! If there were many strengths, talk about them. Did the project manager seem disorganized or was she so organized that she had time to pitch in when team members seemed to be slacking? All should be noted on the evaluation form. Not only does this help in determining human resources issues such as pay and promotion, but it also helps to demonstrate to the project manager what she has been doing right so that she can keep on doing it!
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Project Manger's Weaknesses
LIkewise, you should ensure that your team members talk about the project manager's weaknesses. It is so important that you tell team members and other evaluators that ragging on the project manager is not productive (you'd be surprised at how many would do this). Instead encourage evaluators to use positive criticsm where not only the problem is pointed out, but how the problem might be fixed.
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Plan for Improvement of Skills
Finally, once the evaluations have been collected, they can be gone over by the supervising manager and the project manager. Even if the project manager is issuing evaluations of his own accord, it is important to go through each evaluation, read and understand the material there, and develop a plan of action to improve upon one's strengths while minimizing one's actions. Once a plan has been made, then the project manager under evaluation (with supervisors) can then determine a course of action for improvement in future projects.