I've been asked to hire a technical person (Project Coordinator) for another manager. I'm the hiring manager, but the new hire will report to another manager. Has anybody else done this? Anything in particular I should be thinking about?
I rather fell into doing this, and it is complicated in a bunch of ways that make my life more interesting.
I manage the System Engineering Branch, which is part of the Operations and Engineering Division. I have 12 in my Branch, my boss runs the Division of about 140. We are the largest of five Divisions.
We build systems for two major Missions -- Hubble and the new James Webb. Each Mission has a Mission Office with a small staff (the Hubble Mission Office is down to 5 people, JWST is a couple dozen) that sets objectives, provides some mission-level science expertise, provides funding, and does the management-level interface to NASA. Sometimes we matrix people to the Mission Office. More often we get funded to do some work, and deliver some product, managing the work and the people ourselves.
The position I'm filling opened up because one of my staff moved on to better work. It really was better for him, and I encouraged him to apply for his new position. He's very happy with the work, and his new boss.
Initially I expected to just re-fill his position with a similar person, and had identified somebody "in the building" who could move into my group and pick up the work with a little training. She had interviewed with me, talked the guy leaving the position, and talked to the guy she'd be matrixed to half-time. My boss was on-board with transferring her into my Branch, and brought it up in a regular meeting with the deputy head of the Mission Office.
We got surprised.
That person was not acceptable to the Mission. They need different skills. The goals from NASA have changed, we need more details, the schedule is shorter, and other unexpected changes.
After several more discussions, including a very helpful meeting with the Mission Head (her deputy has been my main internal customer for this work). I did some analysis of the work, defined the skills, experience and behaviors we need for the position, and wrote a job description.
After getting agreement with the job description, and verifying that we thought we could recruit a person with those qualifications, my boss and the Mission Office agreed that the new hire would not report to me. Instead, the new hire will work in the Mission Office under the Development Manager for the Mission. ("Manager" is something of a misnomer, because what he really does is track nontechnical coordination issues -- schedule, spending, and some external programmatic issues.)
However, because the Mission Office rarely does hiring, they don't want to do it themselves. They asked, and my boss agreed, that I would go hire somebody who would work for the Development Manager.
The most bizarre complication is that the Development Manager is my ex-boss, who was "reorganized into a position with less responsibility than his previous role" about a year ago. My relationship with him is civil, but not without tension.
I started writing the new job description just to get agreement on the position, and it did clarify what the Mission Office wanted. We even agreed that, given the change in work, the position belonged in the Mission Office. When I suggested that the Mission Office should do the hiring, everybody in the room insisted that I was the best person to do the picking, since I'd done such a great job to this point. Since one of the people in the room was my boss, and I've learned the hard way not to manage up, I just asked what charge number I should use for recruiting.
So have any of you been in this situation yourself? Were you successful, and if so do you know why? If it blew up, do you have any thoughts on how to contain the damage?
And while I'm at it, does anybody know a real expert in Microsoft Project who has done some project management, and would like to explore working on the premiere space-based observatory of the next 20 years?