Project Management Is A Commodity. Why Should We Spend The Time And Energy Sourcing An External Project Manager?
The primary goal of a good project manager is to gauge what the most economical solution and efficient outcome is going to be for the client, so they can get that additional capability or capacity whilst reducing spend.
So the project manager’s responsibility is to get all the cards on the table, look at all the different options on the market, and undertake that business case based on different scenarios and different options.
Often, once a project manager has gone through that process with a client, the project will have significantly changed. This is because what the client initially thought they needed has now been revealed not to be the case. Their original idea may well have required a huge financial investment and might not even have solved the problems that they thought it would.
For this reason, the feasibility assessment phase of the project is crucially important. Getting all the facts on the table and exploring all of the possibilities ensures that the project that is executed actually solves the client’s fundamental problems.
Without engaging a project manager, it is all too easy for a client to recognise a problem, believe they know what the solution will be, and to then engage an architect or builder to carry out the work that they believe is needed. A good project manager will make sure your problem is solved, regardless of whether or not you end up needing to go to a builder or an architect.
Case Study – Double Trouble
A client was delivering two identical projects in two different locations, constructing two large warehouses using the same design for each building. One warehouse was to be located in the north of the state and the other in the south. In order to bring the projects in on time, the client engaged two different project managers.
The project in the south of the state got off to a quick start with their construction, which pleased the client. Ultimately that’s what clients want to see, as they interpret construction as equating to progress. However, construction without proper planning will bite you in the backside every single time.
The project manager working on the warehouse in the south had managed to get started extremely quickly because they hadn’t taken the time to go through the proper planning processes. This meant that they hadn’t engaged a suitably qualified contractor.
Their failure to go through the proper planning processes had resulted in retaining a contractor who lacked the necessary qualifications and also meant that the contract they had drawn up allocating risk was not executed properly. All of this meant that, even though the design was exactly the same for each warehouse, the project in the south of the state suffered major setbacks, cost blowouts, and disputes—all because the project manager didn’t properly delegate the risk at the outset. Ultimately, the contractor stopped work.
On the project that we were overseeing in the north of the state, we spent longer in the planning and procurement stages to ensure we had the right contractor on board and to ascertain that they knew exactly what risks they held and what their obligations were.
Although the client was not happy initially with the fact that we had not started construction at the same time as the project in the south of the state, by taking that additional time upfront and making sure everybody knew what their roles and responsibilities were, we delivered the project on time and on budget.