Project Management Partners: Outsourcing the PM Department
Project Management is an increasingly specialized field. In recent years, what was once a collateral duty for engineers and managers blossomed into its career field with its unique practices, techniques, and roles.
Many organizations don’t have mature in-house PM competencies. They often learn rather quickly how difficult it can be to build up the processes, people, and tools necessary to achieve project success. That’s why more and more companies are outsourcing their project management departments.
There are many great reasons why a company might choose to do this, but let’s start with a bit of context.
The current state of project management
The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines Project Management as the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to deliver something of value. In terms of structure, these skills and methods typically act as inputs into processes that yield outputs. These outputs are often deliverables that advance the project or represent products and services delivered for customers.
Even though many teams today manage projects iteratively rather than sequentially, PMI groups process logically in stages, including initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, and project closeout. Each of these phases contains complex tasks that require significant oversight. Keeping projects on schedule and within budget is both an art and science unto itself that requires specialized staff, documentation, and metrics.
With so many moving parts, resources, processes, and tools to wrangle, it’s no surprise that many projects fail.
Organizations that lack a mature PM discipline suffer from a lack of stakeholder engagement, poor resource estimation, and an inability to manage scope and change. Any of these issues could be a death sentence for a project. The need for experienced leadership and mature processes and tools is why so many organizations outsource.
Why organizations should consider outside help
One of the first things we learn about projects is that they have a beginning and an end. Some organizations may have enough ongoing projects to maintain a healthy ecosystem of talent that can migrate between projects over time. For many companies, though, the time-bound nature of projects creates a real resource challenge. The qualified folks to fill these roles need specialized knowledge and certifications. These positions can be very challenging and costly to fill.
Even if they can hire all of the talented individuals they need, what happens when the project ends?
There’s often an awkward situation where either staff has to be let go, or you have expensive resources waiting for the next project to be ready for their skills to make a difference.
Some organizations tackle the resource problem by using a matrixed resource approach. This can be challenging, with resource conflicts often resulting in schedule and cost overruns.
Outside of human resources, a lack of mature processes and tools is another critical issue organizations face when trying to execute projects independently. Establishing transparent, repeatable processes with measurable metrics to track progress and identify risks and issues isn’t something that happens overnight. It can take years of painstaking work and experimentation to build a PM culture capable of achieving success.
Outsourcing helps many companies solve these problems and benefits from decades of institutional knowledge, culture, and talent development. While many organizations are familiar with outsourcing their software development or bringing in outside PM consultants, there is much to be gained by outsourcing the entire department.
The Benefits of Outsourcing the PM department to a strategic partner
We’ve established that success in project management requires highly experienced and knowledgeable staff. Even some vast companies lack sufficient internal staff with the training necessary to take a project from inception to closeout. That is particularly true when projects operate outside the business’s core competency, which is exceedingly common. For example, a construction company establishes a need for a customer-facing software system. It’s improbable that their teams have experience delivering software projects. Do they hire a PM, some developers and wing it?
They would be a lot better off outsourcing the entire project department to a company with a proven track record.
Scheduling, budgeting, and change management for projects are highly specialized activities that require attention to detail and several tools and techniques that are second nature to a PM-focused company but foreign to many businesses. Outsourcing the project management department allows the business to benefit from mature competencies and standards that greatly enhance the chances of delivering a project successfully.
Additionally, maintaining the skilled labor pool, technologies, and resources required to manage projects is very expensive. Outsourcing the PM department allows companies to benefit from the economies of scale built into companies specializing in it. To put it simply, executing project work is more efficient for companies specializing in it. It costs them less money, time, and resources to accomplish the same tasks than a company with less mature PM competencies. That makes it very likely that outsourcing the department will result in cost and schedule savings.
Rather than building PM organizational maturity from the ground up, organizations that outsource their PM shops a lot of benefits. From a wealth of professionals, documentation, policies, a the way to reporting and metrics. They don’t need to stand up their tracking tools, hire or train their staff, or establish internal policies and procedures.
eCore brings project management expertise to companies around the world
Products and services are the core of any business, non-profit, or government agency. Your ability to deliver great ideas should never be limited by geography or a company’s experience. At eCore, we know first-hand that a motivated, high-functioning team with the right skills and tools can make a difference.
Organizations partnering with us benefit from experienced project leaders. They have the experience to train and manage project management teams anywhere in the world. We act as a source of professionals, documentation, guidance, and metrics for successful management and execution. eCore not only hires and manages project managers for other companies but also standardizes and introduces economies of scale for project execution while implementing improvements to increase project deliverables.
If you’ve heard enough and want to talk about building something together, reach out to us.
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