There are many reasons that corporate executives turn to external consultants to provide project management support for their projects. The challenges that organizations face include: sub-par project performance, the potential for lost credibility, lack of experience with a particular project type, and a lack of internal project management practitioners. Project management consulting firms can supply experienced practitioners that offer high-quality solutions to the complex issues facing project teams. Here are six ways that project management consulting firms are making a difference with leading organizations.
Addressing Project-Related Issues
Often times it is the highly visible, at-risk project that drives management to recognize that a better project management approach is required. Frequently, project management consultants are brought in to address various project-related issues including: poor on-time performance (key dates being missed), unsatisfactory financial results (unnecessary expenditures to meet deadlines), dysfunctional team dynamics (poor communication, team in-fighting, and misdirection), and complicated team composition (multi-locational, language barriers, external partnerships, etc). By providing the right combination of methodology,training, resources and technology, project management consulting firms can help executives determine how to most effectively focus the resources they have available. They can also help preserve the integrity of project deliverables by ensuring that issues are identified in a timely manner and key dates are being consistently met. These tools and support solutions help improve overall project metrics, while enabling project teams to work more effectively and efficiently in high-stress environments.
Providing Advanced Analysis to Management
In many cases, upper management has difficulty evaluating project performance and making the best decisions because they lack visibility to key project information. A project management consulting firm can provide the necessary reports and analysis to equip managers with key information on upcoming obstacles, possible project pitfalls, and potential resource constraints. When this type of information is incorporated as part of a more encompassing project management approach, the consultant can convert standard project data from a reactive snapshot of historical information into a predictive project analysis tool.
Filling an Expertise Gap
Projects are sometimes launched without regard for the expertise and experience of the project teams working on them. Also, a project’s complexity, magnitude, and uniqueness may be a significant concern even for the most experienced teams. Finally, the project management proficiency required to lead major a project initiative may be unavailable or in short supply. In these instances, a project management consulting firm can provide the required expertise necessary to drive the project to a successful outcome.
Establishing a Proactive Approach
Many projects, by default are managed using a reactive approach to problem solving. This style of project management creates an environment where “fire fighting” is the norm and the latest project emergency demands the attention. A proactive project management approach enables project teams to identify obstacles earlier in the project,
which allows them to make better decisions and provide more cost effective solutions. By implementing the right mix of training, consulting and advanced tools, a project management consulting firm can establish an early warning system that provides management a forward-looking tool to ensure their project will be executed as-agreed.
Offering Short-term Support Solutions
The lack of qualified personnel to support a congested project pipeline is an ongoing concern to many organizations. Hiring and training full-time resources and mentoring them in the intricacies of an advanced project management approach can require more time than organizations have available. Project management consulting firms can fill the gap between the immediate need for project management support and the organization’s current capabilities.
Some projects are so critically important to the success of an organization that failure is simply not an option. In some cases, a past project may have been so poorly executed that management wants assurance that future projects will be more successful. A project management consulting firm can assist in this scenario by helping to deploy advanced risk mitigation tools and providing expert scrutiny of existing project schedules.
Project management consulting firms can bring a combination of experience, knowledge and advanced tools that are not readily available in most organizations. By combining those capabilities with an understanding of best-in-class project management practices it is easy to see how the benefits realized from using a project management consulting firm can far outweigh the out-of-pocket investment.