Preempt the Project Management "Threat." An outside project manager's performance and successes can, ironically, be threatening to an organization. Unlike those whose
technical or other skills may be purchased periodically, project managers contribute leadership. This can be extraordinarily
threatening to internal managers who may lack confidence and interpersonal skills. Recognize the potential for your organization
to react this way and sponsor acceptance of the project manager's leadership. Don't let parochialism and insecurity stand
in the way of organizational improvement. Recognize, reward, and share the lessons in leadership.
Eliminate the Term "Contractor" or "Consultant." These terms imply "from the outside in." Project managers organize, coordinate, inspire, and facilitate on the inside. Leaders
become attached to their organizations, even when the organizations are assembled temporarily to accomplish a specific objective
or project. Legitimate project managers don't act as outsiders and shouldn't be treated as such.
Recognize the Difference Between Rate and Value. Too often, rate becomes the sole criterion for assessing value. Recently, a client who fully acknowledged outstanding performance,
results, and achievement of over $2 million in cost savings (accounting for fees) using one project management firm chose
a provider with a lower rate that had already demonstrated a history of performance problems. How would you like to get fired
after being recognized for outstanding results and for delivering extraordinary value, just because some shortsighted manager
used you as a cost-cutting target?
Remember Inclusion. Be concerned about the success of your service provider's business. It's easy to forget that they too have a desire to prosper,
to expand their reputation, and to provide for the health and welfare of their employees and extended families. Consider the
impact of your decisions on your trusted partner.
Remember that your project management partner will make honest mistakes, as we all do. Judge them at least as much on how
they manage the mistake as on the fact that a mistake was made. If you are truly a values-based company, you shouldwork with
service providers who share your values.
You can partially or fully outsource project management or blend the services with your internal team, depending on your resources
and needs (Table 1). Whichever model you choose to engage a project management firm, retaining professionals can provide multiple
benefits. Projects will be completed more effectively and cost-efficiently. Results and performance will be documented. Qualitative
improvements will be realized. The firm you select will be available as needed, eliminating the need to provide internal staff
for a fluctuating workload.
Table 1. Project Management Alternatives
As your confidence grows, you will begin to see the possibilities for applying project management practices on a larger scale
throughout your company — for faster development of new products, for optimizing a host of business processes, for developing
strategy, and more. When practiced by professionals, project management can literally transform the way companies think, behave,
plan, execute, and succeed.
C. Richard Panico is president of Integrated Project Management
Company, Inc., Suite 220, 200 South Frontage Road, Burr Ridge, IL 60527, 630.789.8600, fax 630.789.7945. email@example.com