Managing the Project Manager

Understanding and using a PM’s capabilities to the fullest is key to a successful project

You are a security manager and are responsible for the protection of your facility. You have had a few incidents that have put a spotlight on some vulnerabilities in your security program. Part of the solution is security staff training that you are well equipped to handle; however, the rest of the solution is an upgrade and enhancement of your current security systems.
Although this will be a capital-intensive project, your CEO has promised full financial support. You realize that your current workload keeps you too busy to give the time to directly manage the design and implementation of the new security system work. Nobody else on your staff has the time or skill set to manage the project, so you have decided to hire a Project Manager (PM) for the duration of the project.
The range of services that you require from the PM will vary depending the nature and complexity of the project. You may already have a security system contractor and you want to ensure that the contractor’s PM is adequate to the task; or you may need more extensive services that include design, procurement and construction administration, and you need an independent PM to manage the complete process. Although we will assume the latter, the selection of the contractor’s PM should be approached with essentially the same process.
It is very important to identify early in the process the scope of work (SOW) that the PM will be required to perform during the project. This should be quantitative as well as qualitative. For example, during the implementation phase, will the PM be required to be on the job site:
• Full time;
• Only when the security contractor is on site;
• One day per week to observe and report on progress (on a large project a Construction Manager may perform the day-to-day project management function); or
• Periodically “as required.”
Let’s look at the steps to identify, select and manage the PM.

Identifying the Skills
Depending on the size and complexity of the project, the PM’s skill set should include the following:
• An in-depth understanding of the appropriate security systems technology — including the cabling and network infrastructure required to ensure that the system components can talk to each other.
• The ability to communicate with the many members of the design team including architects, electrical engineers and IT, in addition to security systems designers.
• The skills to coordinate the installation work being performed by security system integrators, electricians, locksmiths and communications workers.
• The depth of expertise to resolve problems when they arise.
• Experience in your or similar industries or environments.
• The financial acuity to develop cost estimates, evaluate bid pricing and audit contractor payment requests.

Finding Candidates
You may have used a PM on a prior project and had a successful outcome, or through networking, you can get the names of other possible PMs from fellow security managers. Other sources of firms that provide project management services include:
• Directories of products and services in security publications — under consultants, installation management or project management.
• Directories of project managers and security consultants at relevant associations, such as:
§ The International Association of Professional Security Consultants (;
§ The Project Management Institute (; and
§ The ASIS Security Industry Buyers Guide (

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