Project Management As A Service: Certainty In Transition

PMaaS

“Ropes of enforced improvisation and spontaneity that unravel and entwine between pillars of carefully choreographed certainty”. I thought that this was a rather charming description of the reality of running a Project Management Function.

The CIO who shared this insight with me was referring to a recurring gap in his operation, sometimes due to under the radar stimuli like when a contractor’s contract ends, or a contractor just isn’t performing at 100% and other more obvious times, when one Project Manager leaves and another is recruited. For a short time governance and structure are rather neglected as the remaining PM talent maintain a “keep the lights on” strategy. Projects don’t always suffer significantly but nor do they achieve their full potential either.

Project Management as a Service has evolved into an effective bridge in instances such as these, and grateful CIOs are also increasingly benefitting in much more meaningful ongoing ways. For instance:

1. Where an organisation has a positive mix of both permanent payrolled Project Managers and contractors, here PMaaS can be used to replace contractors to add more flexibility and avoid service gaps (therefore reducing uncertainty). You have the benefits of in-house permanent evangelists, plus the advantages of high quality flexible resources which means engaging PMaaS long term becomes a better option than hiring contractors.

2. Where a Project function is dominantly contractor oriented and the ambition is to increase permanent staff by retaining your best talent, whilst recruiting new in-house personnel. In this scenario you use PMaaS to replace some or all of your contractor base and in Stoneseed’s case actually help with the recruitment process. Stoneseed provides access to more potential prospects and Stoneseed’s client-side understanding of your business needs acts as a filter to ensure that you are selecting from the most suitable candidate pool.

In this second scenario, incoming Project Managers have found poor governance, structure and inherited a legacy handful of different contractors. PMaaS can accelerate the introduction of good governance and structure as the permanent Project Management team is being constructed. As a result they hit the ground running when fully staffed.

The ideal scenario would be to have a constant nucleus of Project Management talent. A ‘bedrock’ of permanent Project Managers in the organisation to undertake business engagement and IT evangelism.

Permanent in-house Project Managers can be highly effective at building up business relationships that those relying on contractors can only dream of – but what happens when your team of five or six is reduced to three or four? What happens when a Project Manager leaves or is promoted through your ranks to oversee larger projects, or you need to cover a period of maternity leave?

In instances such as these, outsourcing Project Management-as-a-Service (PMaaS) could not only bridge gaps as they occur, but also act as a constant, sustaining back-up, a quality and governance safety net or as one CIO describes it, “It’s like the back-up generators that kick in to keep the office lights and IT operating in a power cut.”

Project Management as a Service is more than that though. It’s a beacon of best practice that influences all other contributors, contractors and permanent Project Management talent to be at the top of their game, like when the best player in the league joins a team and the whole squad seems to instantly improve.

PMaaS can oversee all the necessary process hardening, governance, flexible resourcing and provide all the necessary subject matter experience to allow your projects to progress at a greater level of effectiveness.

Easing and enhancing structure transition, is a hidden bonus benefit of hiring in PMaaS and more and more organisations are benefitting from it, either to help natural evolution of their internal Project function or the transition from contractor led to permanent salaried staff.

In summary, here are the four key transitional benefits of PMaaS:

1. Bridge the resource gaps whilst recruiting i.e. short falls between end of contactors’ contracts and recruitment time lags.

2. Provide the missing governance processes and PMO structure (this would stay in place when the transition is complete).

3. Your PMaaS provider could provide recruitment services that help source permanent staff vetted to meet stringent Project Management standards.

4. Raise the standards of project delivery within existing resource base during transition.

There’s real and provable business case for hiring in PMaaS. By reducing the amount that your projects unravel in times of transition you add significantly to the value yielded by your “carefully choreographed pillars of certainty”. What was a hidden benefit becomes a must have commodity – or as one recently CIO put it … a “Common Sense No Brainer … As A Service” which is nice, but not quite so catchy.

David_cotgreave

David Cotgreave MBA, BSc (hons), PRINCE II, is Professional Services Director at Stoneseed, with over 20 years’ experience in IT Consulting. David has worked with organisations such as BT Engage IT and KPMG, before founding Stoneseed in 2009 and has gained considerable business experience whilst working with a wide range of organisations across the UK and Europe carrying out a range of strategy, review and implementation projects. David is currently responsible for leading the Professional Services and IT Advisory business within Stoneseed. The IT Advisory team work with clients to realise value and efficiency from their IT investments through a range of services including requirements definition and IT Strategic Planning.