While it may be common for large companies to keep full-time project managers on staff, not every company has the benefit of an experienced PM onsite. There may not be enough staff to dedicate exclusively to managing projects. Or certain projects may need specific skills not present in your company. Or financial resources may simply be lacking.
Sometimes you need to outsource a project manager to bring in the expertise necessary to bring a project to completion. And it is fundamental to have an implementation methodology for that project manager in order to succeed.
Verify Implementation Skills When Outsourcing a Project Manager
As a project manager myself for many years, I understand that a successful project implementation has at least two distinct components:
To correctly identify the right, feasible project that will have real impact on the reality wanting to change and to then design an action plan
To carry out the project to end with the satisfaction of all stakeholders
In order to do this, you need to find the right professional. It's amazing to see how many organizations delegate the responsibility for executing its strategic projects to intermediate, or sometimes inexperienced, managers without making sure that the project manager has the right skills to execute.
The traditional approach is to look for “project managers” with glowing diplomas and certificates and then equip them with sophisticated project management software and in the best cases, provide them with adequate staff and office space.
But is all of this sufficient when hiring a freelance project manager?
Most of the time, companies evaluate candidates based on their technical capacities related to the project in question.
But executing a good plan requires many soft skills as well. To name a few: team management, risk management, leadership, negotiation, and communication are fundamental to a good implementation.
To validate the capabilities of an outsourced project manager, check for references that demonstrate the experience in implementing similar projects. And above all, it is advisable to question their project management methodology.
Implementing a Results-based Methodology
After many years as a project manager I was pleased to come across a project management methodology called “Delivering the 8” developed by a local consulting company. It highlighted the implementation side of project management.
The Delivering the 8 methodology requires a results-based management philosophy focused on deliverables very much in line with the McKinsey organizational culture. More than following a plan, the delivery of the needed end-product is the main focus of a project manager.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) recommends at least three qualities in the implementation of projects. Namely that projects should be: delivered on time, within budget and with the agreed-upon functionality and quality. All three are fundamental but not enough to ensure success.
The Delivering the 8 methodology takes into account five additional and essential components:
delivering in accordance with the strategic objectives of the company
to the satisfaction of the client
to the satisfaction of management
to the satisfaction of the team, and
learning from continuous evaluation of the project.
So on the one hand, the project manager must remember the goals of the project and ensure its relevance in a changing environment and, on the other hand, they must adapt a continuous evaluation process of the project to constantly improve the approach. All while taking into account the different parties involved.
Reaching expected results while the members of the team are upset is not considered a successful implementation. Finishing on time and on budget but with features that are no longer necessary to the accomplishment of the company strategy is not considered successful, either.