External Influence

We Asked the Project Management Community: How Do You Ensure Outside Talent Quickly Aligns to the Project's Strategic Objectives?

We asked the project management community: How do you ensure outside talent quickly aligns to the project's strategic objectives?


“Aligning an outside resource is like onboarding any other human resource: Treat that person as a valued new hire, setting them up to be successful from day one. Before they arrive, send the organization an announcement and work with your new team member to share nonconfidential company and project information, allowing time to absorb content. When they arrive, introduce them to office neighbors and team members. And consider a team outing, depending on your company culture. Since they already have skills and talents (that's why you hired them), your focus should be to help them make a lasting project contribution as a productive, happy human resource.”

—Aldo Zegarra Aguilar, PMP, project manager, Mer Group, Lima, Peru



What steps are you taking to properly onboard outside talent? Share your tips on the PMI Project, Program and Portfolio Management LinkedIn Group.


“I like to assign a buddy from the project team who can help outside talent gain a good understanding of how the projects are executed in the organization and provide an insight on the project execution model. The buddy also can help better introduce the new hire to the project team. Ideally, this buddy can be part of an onboarding system that helps clarify the roles, responsibilities and expectations for the outside talent.”

—Rajaram Chinnakkan, project manager, Lowe's Companies Inc., Bengaluru, India


“You shouldn't wait until outside talent arrives to make this transition. Ensuring alignment needs to be part of your procurement process. Start by identifying vendors and contractors who have a strong track record of fast ramp-up. Then ensure the contract provides a win-win for the selected vendor to share in the benefits when objectives are met.”

—Kiron D. Bondale, PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP, PMP, senior consultant, World Class Productivity Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada



“Over the past year, I've had a number of new contractors coming on board. My approach is consistent:

▪  Give an overview of the company, the strategy and how the project aligns with organizational goals.

▪  Explain in detail what their roles are and how they will contribute to project success.

▪  Introduce them to the team and explain each member's role.

▪  Discuss how best to communicate with me, the team and how to handle escalated issues.

▪  Familiarize them with the tools we use and ensure they have appropriate access.

I find this covers 80 percent of what they need to know right away and gets them up to speed quickly. The other 20 percent of knowledge and alignment is covered over time.”

—Jason Orloske, PMP, chief of staff, Dakota Medical Foundation, Fargo, North Dakota, USA


“Prior to hiring outside talent, I develop screening questions that directly apply to the project objectives and success criteria. This ensures that I'm looking for the right skill set, personality and culture fit during the interview or request for proposal process. When outside talent is onboarded, the entire project team helps the person review the project vision, objectives and goals along with roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder and member of the project team. Doing this helps outside talent understand how their contributions fit into the project vision and goals, and it facilitates their alignment.”

—Preeti Bhongir, PMP, president and principal consultant, Think-Divergent Solutions LLC, Houston, Texas, USA


“It's important to have an onboarding process for outside talent that shows the organizational structure as well as which project management frameworks and methodologies are used. On a more granular level, procurement should have vetted tools and provide an overview of how the organization uses it and to what extent. Also make sure to review any regulatory considerations with them. Ultimately, you need to be clear with them about the overall expectations and make sure the appropriate introductions are made, including stakeholders and team members.”

—Alyce Reopelle, PMP, project program management senior consultant, NTT Data, Plano, Texas, USA

Outside Help

The demand for project talent is high. Organizations increasingly are using external hires to fill the gap.


of organizations use a contingent workforce on either a regular or as-needed basis.

Projected increase in the type of external talent hired by organizations through 2020:




Related Content