In a meeting with a prospective client this week, I was asked about the advantages of hiring Project Management talent in the same way that many other elements of an organization’s IT estate are now brought in...namely, “as a Service.”
Before I answered, I asked what he thought good service looked like.
As we talked and compared our answers, it became clear that the lists were entirely compatible: his idea of what he wanted from a service matched my idea of what a project management partner could and should deliver.
Here’s a summary of our discussion – both of the client’s utopian ideal (in bold) and what a potential Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) provider can offer. You’ll see how they dovetail.
1. Skills. You can access talent with the specialist knowledge to manage your particular project. Many projects fail or do not realize their full potential because the Project Manager (PM) in charge is ill equipped or inexperienced (more on this later). At first glance, it makes sense that a PM sitting idle earning a salary should be given a project that needs managing. But if, for example, your PM is lacking the key skills needed for the project, what made sense on paper, can soon become a calamitous disaster.
2. Tenacity. By hiring in you get managers who can’t afford an off day – they want to get in, get the gold and get out...and move onto the next project. That makes commercial sense for you and for them – but they don’t cut corners, because their next job depends on the reference that you give them.
3. Openness. Hiring in Project Management talent that doesn't rely exclusively upon you for their income means that they're often more open and transparent. Suddenly, risks that previously might have been brushed under the carpet and hidden now have a bright light shined upon them. Being employed in this way promotes transparency and a focus on results that just doesn't exist with comfortable, contracted, salaried staff.
4. New ideas. You get to tap into a greater pool of ideas and ways of thinking. Your salaried Project Managers spend all their time working in your company. Imagine if you could send them out on loan to other companies or even industries – picture the new ideas that they might come back with. Hiring talent who spend their whole time elsewhere gives you this! Ideas that have worked previously, honed and filtered for success – at your disposal.
5. Experience. If your in-house PM is not suitably experienced for the scale of your project, vital potential gains can be lost throughout the project’s life cycle. There are often subtle leaks, too, so you don’t notice until project deadline day...but even subtle leakages can add up to huge losses in terms of budgets and lost time.
6. Scope and Space. One of the complaints I often hear from Projects Managers is that a lack of time is sapping their ability to deliver. Especially since the economic downturn, most business environments are operating with fewer resources across the board. In your PMO this can manifest itself in dull but important administrative tasks being overlooked and focus being thinned. A PMaaS solution can help increase capacity, both in short term panic management, but even more so as part of your long term strategy – without increasing your headcount.
7. Efficiency (Cost Effectiveness & Productivity). You only pay for what you use. Find a resource model that you turn up and down, depending upon your needs – no long term commitments or need to increase your headcount. You get to tap into expertise and experience when you need it. And when you no longer need it – it isn't sitting on the bench burning a hole in your payroll. Larger scale projects require more experienced Project Managers, which doesn't come cheap. Having such pricey talent on your books but idle (between projects) can significantly impact on the overall cost effectiveness of your PMO.
And as we've already touched upon, there's greater incentive for talent working this way to deliver on-time (or early) – successful projects look good on the CV.
8. Elasticity. Hire the talent that you need, when you need it, for exactly the length of time you require, and when the project finishes you have no long-term commitment, no extended overheads. Perfect! And what you do have is a tap that can be turned on again when you need it. It is the ultimate flexible and agile Project Management solution.
9. New Diverse Talent Solutions. By hiring in specific project management talent for specific business challenges you tap into a different address book each time. The PM you hire will have successful relationships and be connected with other project management professionals who can offer different services, paradigms, experience and expertise. Your partner will have talent solutions for projects beyond the one that you initially hire them for. Remember any recommendation reflects on the referee and their reputation, so you can be sure that your contact will only recommend the best.
I have yet to encounter a Project Management opportunity that would not benefit from accessing Project Management talent, in the way that you are now used to accessing other IT elements, Platform, Software, Infrastructure, etc. as a Service.
Not just for the reasons listed here but for a whole range of others that will be specific to your business case, project or industry sector – it’s worth considering for future projects.
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