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KIWI STORY: The right way to project management

Sathya Mithra Ashok | Feb. 11, 2014
Eight-year old Lexel Project Services (LPS) is a 120-strong project management (PM) firm that is proudly Kiwi-owned, with operations and clients across Auckland, Wellington and other parts of New Zealand.

Eight-year old Lexel Project Services (LPS) is a 120-strong project management (PM) firm that is proudly Kiwi-owned, with operations and clients across Auckland, Wellington and other parts of New Zealand.

In the beginning though, there was just the one.

"The central idea behind the firm was to provide independent, agnostic PM capabilities to enterprises. There was a gap in the market, where most PM delivery was aligned to the top-end of the IT supply chain — the big vendors. That just didn't sit right with us. Big IT companies are probably aligned, in hardware or software terms, and their independence can be questionable. So we created this boutique delivery capability that was centric to PM," says Paul Alexander, GM of the firm.

Started as a joint venture with Lexel and functioning as a subsidiary of the group, the firm went after the top-end of clients right from day one.

"When we first started we went after and got the big blue chip clients that could afford to invest in having an independent external project management capability. In the past, if organisations had an outsourced capability with a partner or big vendor, stuff like PM gets given away as a gratis or a sweetener. Plucking it out, taking it out of the big vendor landscape and asking someone to pay for it makes it an investment decision for clients," says Alexander.

Alexander believes they had a strong business case and luck on their side in bringing in top clients. Over time, the firm has worked for the likes of Air New Zealand and NZ's Defence Force (NZDF), even as it has expanded its line of services to cover everything in the PM lifecycle.

"We do project management, programme management, business analysis, testing- anything that touches the PM lifecycle. We have taken a marker and drawn a big thick line around what we do, so we don't lose our focus. We don't want to become a master of everything. We are sticking to being masters of just project delivery," says Alexander.

According to him, this has been a key strength of the firm and has enabled it to enjoy profits from its first year of operation.

Though LPS started with large enterprise clients, over time the client profile has changed to include smaller businesses as well.

"We are developing a proposition, especially with our consulting capability, where we are able to go in and help with a project, or post implementation review, or it might be project risk. These are just little avenues that have opened up into smaller companies. We have always had a footprint in larger companies and predominantly on an IT basis. Suddenly, we are being provisioned for mechanical equipment and building, because it is all project management," says David Jones, head of service delivery at LPS.

 

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