What is project management consultancy?
Project management consultancy is when an expert project manager from outside an organisation manages or oversees a project or contributes to its management or oversight.
A project management consultant makes sense for mid-market businesses who are beginning a large project, as most of their people are already committed to other roles. And large projects may be rare, so the company lacks the necessary project management routines and structures.
A professional project management consultant will have the time and expertise to fill this gap. He or she will guide the project and introduce the processes necessary for its delivery.
Project management consultants also bring their experience of different organisations and projects, and they can avoid getting drawn into routine work that eats up the regular staff’s time.
What does a project management consultant do?
At its simplest, project manager consultants focus on four activities:
- Identifying the necessary work.
- Identifying the necessary resources.
- Ensuring resources are properly allocated to deliver the work.
- Monitoring escalating issues and delivery.
These are important activities: large projects won’t succeed if they aren’t done properly. But crucially, these activities alone will not guarantee success.
Why do projects fail or get ‘stuck’?
It is a well-established fact that most projects fail to deliver. In our experience, projects go awry because project managers don’t address the following crucial issues:
- Projects that are poorly planned or vaguely defined. A project must specifically address business objectives with pragmatism and urgency. The phasing in particular must reflect the key issues—the underlying business challenges or the technical strategies.
- Personnel problems. Staffing issues are quite often at the heart of challenges to a project, and many project managers lack the people skills to deal with them.
- Procrastination or avoidance. It is not unusual for someone to recognise a significant problem but not address it. Project managers may efficiently flag problems, but this is not the same as addressing them.
How do you find the right project manager consultancy?
The above points are leadership gaps, and project management consultants may not always fill them. In contrast, here are the key ways in which Freeman Clarke consultants ensure a successful project.
- Set clear business goals. The underlying business value of the project must be clear and accepted by all the stakeholders. Our role is to have the courage and drive to ensure this clarity is maintained until delivery.
- Embrace change. Delivering value often requires significant changes: for example, changes in organisation, behaviour, and/or processes. We take ownership of these changes and ensure they contribute to the success of the project.
- Communicate issues or challenges. Project managers may not communicate issues or risks to the Board in ways that inspire positive action. This can happen even when there is ample progress reporting! We make sure that technical and non-technical people understand potential problems and take steps to resolve them.
To sum up: for most mid-market businesses, large internal projects are relatively rare, so they do not have the senior-level management skills available in-house. Project management consultants provide a solution, but they often leave a leadership gap. Freeman Clarke works with ambitious mid-market businesses to fill this gap and ensure that projects deliver the planned business objectives on time and on budget.