We Cannot Afford a Project Manager

Originally posted on the ProjExc Project Excellence Blog on 26-Aug-09
At ProjExc, we often meet clients who have previously fallen into the trap of believing that ‘anyone can manage a project’ (more on that in a separate post).  It’s interesting to observe that learning this in all-too-painful a way is often followed by another trap.  That is believing that ‘we can’t afford a proper project manager’. Generally we find this just isn’t the case, but it’s any easy and dangerous assumption to make.

Firstly, let’s consider the costs of not managing a project properly (see the list* below for what we think of as a project in this context).  Firstly we know that UK business projects fail (to meet their objectives) at a rate of around 70%.  Generically, 70% of UK business projects are late, over budget and/or don’t deliver the anticipated outcomes.  At a headline level this means that:
a.project profits or financial benefits are seriously impacted, and/or
b.there is a knock-on effect on other projects or operations down-stream, and/or
c.customer or end user satisfaction is negatively impacted, leading to reduced confidence, lost reputation or even lost follow-up work.
Of course there will be other significant costs relevant to your organisation/industry.

With decades of focused attention on project management and leading, or sitting in on, hundreds of project reviews there are very few instances where the cost of failure was less that it would have cost to manage the project professionally.

So how do our clients manage their projects cost effectively?  A priority is to get the right person.  Someone who is highly competent (skilled and experienced) at managing projects to success and comes with a toolkit which they understand how to use.  Next consider how much they are actually needed, and balance that with the budget.  Often a part-time project manager is much more effective that a full timer.  At ProjExc we support a number of clients on a part-time basis.  This normally starts with a burst of effort in preparing a useful project management plan.  Effort reduces to periodic interventions for control & reporting during project execution and then there is often another burst during project closure.

If you would like to explore how ProjExc could help you deliver your projects successfully contact us in whatever way works best for you.  Initial consultations are free and without obligation.  Call ProjExc, email us, or find out more about our part-time project managers on our website

*By a ‘project’ we are thinking about:
1.BUSINESS CHANGE (e.g. cost base reductions;  define & implement vision, strategies & set & follow action plans; office moves; implementing new systems; diversification)
2.NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT (i.e. taking an idea, defining the concept, reviewing feasibility and viability, piloting and taking to market), or
3.EXTERNAL PROJECTS (i.e. product deliveries, service deliveries or system integrations)