“Not another project,” you say as the words of the email drip from your head to the pit of your stomach.  You remember the last time… You thought you picked the right in-house team to manage the project. It seemed straight forward. You had good people who were top notch in IT and very specialized. You were convinced the project would be OBOSOT (On Budget, On Scope, On Time).  And by the end of the project, it was OBOSOT (Over Budget, Over Scope, Over Time). What went wrong?

I suggest one simple change.  Consider a contract project manager!

A disclaimer: I AM a contract project manager!  “Well then he is biased,” you say!  I would answer by stating that as an IT project manager working global acquisitions and divestitures of multi-national companies with 25 years of IT experience, I have journeyed to this conclusion.

Below are 5 reasons why you should consider a contract project manager for your next project.

1. Contract Project Managers are Specialized by Project Type

We call it being pigeonholed. But, our pigeonholes are exactly why you can be certain a contracted project manager has the expertise and experience needed to move your project forward with minimal meandering.  We can typically, after a few meetings, list task dependencies, estimate length of time to accomplish milestones, engage our network of contacts, and layout a plan that will eliminate many of the pitfalls encountered by first timers. We know because we were once first timers.

2. Contract Project Managers Flatten The Organizational Hierarchy

In-house project teams often succumb to the hierarchy affect—assigning more weight to input from those in the highest positions. This philosophy can muddle the project because the focus becomes the status of the person rather than the skill of the individual. Coming into the organization from the outside, we have no history with those who will be part of the project team. We are objective in our approach to the goals of the project. The fact that one person is at a manager level, and another is at a tech level has no bearing on its own. Our objective is to pull together what is practical, relevant and resourceful and work toward the goals of the project.

3. Contract Project Managers Are Perspective Neutral

An in-house project manager is likely appointed because the project closely aligns with the project manager's work history and group. Unfortunately, an in-house PM often fails to evaluate the needs of the other affected groups because humans tend to revert to the usual process rather than challenge themselves to be open to new ideas or methods. As a result, the outcome of the project resembles a mini-me of the project leader.  A contract project manager is perspective neutral.  We ensure that all affected groups are considered equally and objectively.  We work inside the collaborative process which allows all perspectives to be considered and valued.

4. Contract Project Managers Remove The Silo Effect

Silos are little kingdoms created by well-meaning IT staff who are very knowledgeable and know the business well. So well in fact that they work inside self-created silos that negatively affect the worker groups around them—who have also created silos. Someone from the outside can recognize and break down the barriers. Contract project managers remove the silo effect and unite team members to bring success to the project.

5. Contract Project Managers Mitigate Office Politics

All companies have employees who care more about personal power than the mission of the project group. In-house politicians will spend much of their time working outside the collaborative process to create an advantage that will serve their purpose. They lobby to create a “we vs. they” mentality. They place themselves at the helm of the winning side.  Politics can breed consternation, indignation, and stagnation—none of which will move you toward success. Instead, everyone is drug through the power struggle and the project suffers. Bringing in an experienced project manager can do much to alleviate the rise of the politicians in your project. A contract project manager is an independent third party and therefore not affected or influenced by the company politics that can hinder the progress of the project.

In conclusion, companies typically have reliable, knowledgeable, and very busy IT employees.  The employees want the best for their organization and careers. Unfortunately, we tend to suffer from the human conditions mentioned above.  So, until the rise of the machines (which will give us a whole new set of problems), you really should consider a contract project manager for your next project.

Scott Michelich

Senior Project Manager | AfidenceIT