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Should you outsource your project management?

Moira Alexander | June 2, 2015
Evaluating whether or not to outsource your company’s project management functions can be challenging. Before making this potentially risky leap, you have to assess if this is a good move for your business, keeping in mind that what works for your business today may not work in the future.

Higher level of experience and competence. Project management is a highly specialized area of knowledge and skill that requires significant attention to detail, as well as the ability to see the broader scope to ensure strategic business alignment. In addition, people with the ability to effectively manage multiple resources, juggle hectic schedules, deal with difficult situations and keep within scope are in high demand, yet are hard to find.

The upside to being able to find people with these skills, is their ability to provide high-quality project management, enabling businesses to execute projects successfully while allowing your internal staff and management to focus on what they do best. If these skills are not available internally then outsourcing to an experienced project management vendor may be the best option when compared to the cost of hiring a less experienced internal project manager.

Objectivity. External project managers often bring a level of objectivity that may not always be present with internal staff, for various reasons. This objectivity can be of great value when it comes to the actual project outcomes and deliverables, and ensuring all business requirements are met.

Clarity of focus. When properly executed and managed, projects facilitated by an experienced outsourced PM can allow opportunities for businesses to achieve clearly defined expectations with single-minded focus and less internal friction. This of course assumes the right amount of senior management support is in place.

What are some of the risks of outsourcing project management?

Relationships/buy-in. When it comes to buy-in from internal stakeholders, outsourcing may be an obstacle. At times, when a business chooses to outsource project management functions, the external PM can run into issues with a company's internal staff members and/or management consciously or unconsciously being uncooperative or less trusting. This can make the successful execution of a project more challenging, and possibly position a project for failure. This does not mean outsourcing will not work; it means there may be additional work required to gain the trust and buy-in from key stakeholders.  

Lack of awareness for business objectives & operations. Let's face it, institutional knowledge can sometimes move mountains. When the appropriate and specific project management expertise exists within an organization, it allows for the potential to more easily execute and manage projects successfully due to existing business and operations knowledge. As a result, internal project managers (that have the required skills, of course) may have an advantage over an external project manager.

Exposure of sensitive company information. The risk of a potential data breach can exist with both internal employees and also when external vendors gain access to sensitive information. This risk can be mitigated through various means with external vendors. It is critical that your business clearly and completely defines policies and processes, and communicates and implements measures to address these security issues.


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