From: Larry Miller (
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2008 12:25:15 -0800 (PST)
What are other people's experience with hiring from within the group?  
How important is it to have a project manager who lives in the immediate 
area?  What are the most important qualifications for an effective 
cohousing project manager?

Some of the answers depend on what you want from a project manager.  If there 
is a professional
developer with his (or her) own project manager, then this function is largely 
the cohousing
group's interface to the developer's project manager and the "project manager" 
would likely be
the working head of a group committee. If you are the developer, and this is 
the job of actually
managing the project, that is a radically different position and a much more 
responsible one
requiring a much higher level of expertise.

Hiring an internal member for any position is, at best, inviting possible 
problems. The most
serious is that there is no longer an arm's length relationship and it can be 
very difficult to
deal with problems that may arise during construction, not least of which is if 
the project
manager is not doing an effective job. Other issues include long term damaged 
within the group if there are construction problems.  In general, a reasonable 
way to evaluate
the question of hiring within the group is, "How expensive could a mistake be 
if the wrong
person is hired?"  Membership in the group does not guarantee competence, but 
it does guarantee
that it will be more difficult to replace the manager if that becomes 
necessary. The bigger the
job, the worse the idea.

At Oak Creek Commons, the community originally hired a local project manager. 
However, after the
developer contract was signed, the developer had his own manager (not local), 
and the community
formed a Construction Interface Team (CIT). It was vital that there were 
members of the CIT who
were local and could monitor progress on the construction site on a daily 
basis, because the
project manager was normally not on site.

Larry Miller
Oak Creek Commons

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