How To Reward and Retain a Great Project Manager

A project's success greatly hinges on a team's ability to keep on track in terms of costs, and finish milestones on schedule. It also helps if team members and workers are able to work in synergy, and if suppliers and contractors are able to deliver their goods and requirements on schedule. This is where a project manager's skills and abilities become involved.

Being able to retain a great project manager involves being able to acknowledge good performance, and giving commensurate rewards. This helps motivate people to work at par with expectations, or even to exceed these expectations. It also gives a project manager a sense of accomplishment and pride that the project's owners can see the hard work being put into the project. Rewarding the project manager-and his team as well-also helps boost morale, and will further help improve the performance of the project.

  • What are your metrics? There are different ways to determine how successful a project is. Because a project usually has a set budget, time lines and milestones, these are good places to start. These are also areas where a project manager has, more or less, control over.

    With regard to time lines, a project can be considered successful if it is finished or accomplished within the prescribed time period. Delays in project implementation can usually result in ballooning costs, due to extended staffing requirements and possibly increasing prices of inputs and raw materials.

    As for budget, a project should definitely be within budget constraints. You can allow for at most 10 to 20% cost overrun, to account for possible rising in prices due to inflation. But any more than that, then the project manager might be doing something wrong for the project's inputs not to be at the estimated prices.

  • What are possible rewards? A project manager is usually paid on a package basis, meaning he gets paid whether or not a project gets finished on time or not, or whether it succeeds at all. It's a good way to provide incentive a project manager's pay scheme.
    1. Give him a base pay, which he can earn regardless of timeliness of milestones. But give a bonus for milestones that are met early, and put this in his contract. This way, he will be encouraged to make adjustments and fine tune the project such that it gets finished earlier.
    2. You can also give him bonuses for savings. You can share the balance of savings with the manager and his team, so they will be encouraged to watch their expenditures. Just be sure they are not scrimping on materials, staffing and other essential costs, though.
    3. Lastly, you can offer retention. A project manager's job is finished when the project is done. But you can put it in his contract that you will retain him as a consultant (with a certain amount of pay) a certain number of months after the project has been deemed completed, should there be fixes, adjustments or tweaks needed. You can also promise to put him in your shortlist of project managers for future undertakings if his job is well done.

It is said that a job well done is reward in itself. But if you can give your project manager even more rewards for doing the job well, then you can be assured that he will do all in his power to finish that project on time, within budget, and at par with (or even exceeding) expectations.


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