“Get the right people. Then no matter what all else you might do wrong after that, the people will save you. That’s what management is all about.”
Regardless of the idea’s brilliance or passion, nothing in this business world can happen without management turning that idea into reality.
We all know the usual joke at parties about how management only bosses you around while everyone else does all the work. This joke is hurled quite casually among the masses not familiar with the business landscape, and while it may seem funny, it is also entirely incorrect.
Management is the brains behind any operation. Much like the human body, a business needs the heart and the brain to succeed. While the heart is the entrepreneurial spirit and passion for doing business, the brain gives form to these passions. A business is as good as dead without proper management, which is precisely the point we will be driving home today in this article.
To clarify, we will specifically be talking about management in terms of project management, and pivot into discussing project management consulting to access project management professionals. Now, let’s jump right into it!
Table of Contents
What is Project Management?
Project management is exactly as the name suggests, the process of managing a project in a business.
But what qualifies as a project? Well, anything can. A project is simply the endeavour undertaken by a business to achieve a goal, and project management deals with figuring out how exactly this endeavour will go and guiding it from start to finish.
For example, a business goal may be to reach a certain number of sales in a certain time period. The project management side of things deals with making this simple project of getting those sales a reality.
Why is Project Management Important?
Project management is integral to the success of any business. Almost everything a business does can be called a project, and management is responsible for ensuring that these projects reach completion. A business can be defined as a collection of projects being successfully executed to reach the final outcome: generating a profit.
When we frame it in this sense, the importance of project management should become apparent to even a layman. Unfortunately, much of the business landscape remains adamantly unaware of the benefits of project management, as evidenced in the Pulse of the Profession 2020 report by the Project Management Institute, which reports that only 46% of organizations prioritize project management for the business.
Let’s look at an example to illustrate the point further. A women’s perfume business wishes to launch a new line of scents directed at men. Now, they cannot simply market and sell this product line to a different demographic with the same techniques as their other products. This is where the project management consulting professional comes in to save the day. This person’s job is to assess your business goal and then devise a plan to achieve it. They will be in charge of figuring out how this new business venture will go. What resources will be needed, and how will those resources be leveraged to complete the project and successfully launch this new product line?
Even when it comes to internal projects, project management is relevant. For example, a businessman wants to establish a new store in an area. Well, the project management consulting professional will draw up a game plan to establish this store. How much labor will be needed, what is the best location, how much staff will be needed to man the store, is the idea of a new store worth the cost. These questions come under the purview of project management consulting firms and professionals.
We have brought up project management consulting a bit in this article already, so let’s move on to the main point of discussion, shall we?
Project Management Consulting
Project management consulting is basically when you contract the services of a project management consultant to execute your business projects.
Similar to how a financial consulting professional tells you your business’ financial health and how to best leverage your finances, a project management consulting professional looks at your ideas for a project, assesses them, crafts a defined set of parameters for a project out of these ideas, and proceeds to execute it.
Project management consulting is by no means an easy task, and such consultants typically boast years of experience in the industry and bring their own expertise to get the job done. Every industry has its wants and needs for projects, and even seemingly minor factors like demographics can drastically skew the experience and skills needed for the project. This is why finding the right consultant is integral to a project’s success.
Here are some examples of how project management consultants can add value to the project in different industries:
- A project management consultant with experience in the construction industry can bring expertise in managing construction projects, coordinating subcontractors, ensuring compliance with regulations, and managing project timelines and budgets.
- A project management consultant may conduct a thorough analysis of a software development project, identify potential bottlenecks, propose an optimal development lifecycle, and establish metrics for tracking progress and quality.
- Project management consultants excel in resource management and team coordination. He/She may coordinate a marketing campaign project, aligning the efforts of designers, copywriters, and social media managers. They ensure efficient use of resources, manage project timelines, and ensure effective communication between team members.
When choosing the project management consultant, it is important that we assess their industry experiences and relevant skills related to the project. Look for consultants who have successfully completed similar projects and have a track record of delivering results.
How Does Project Management Consulting Work?
Much like how George Lucas needed his wife to help him manage and realize his ideas when he made Star Wars, entrepreneurs need project management consultant’s external, objective, and realistic perspectives to give their wild ideas tangible form as a viable business project.
Entrepreneurs are genuinely some of the most genius minds on the planet when thinking of a product or service to sell, or just any way to make money. But the real brains behind the operation is the project management team assessing these chaotic and idyllic ideas and extracting their core out, and giving them form as achievable goals.
Steve Jobs, for example, may have figured out how to create an iPhone, but he still needed a project management team to figure out how exactly he was supposed to manufacture and sell this iPhone to the world. How was he supposed to procure the raw materials, hire the technical labor, and find a distribution network? All of these logistical hurdles would have left him with a genius invention that was worth nothing without the right management consulting to help him out.
This example is great to illustrate just how important project management is. It helps geniuses like Steve Jobs and George Lucas take their genius ideas and make them a reality, much like a pen helping a writer put his ideas into words.
And so, in the project assessment phase, your project management consulting team will consider your ideas and first figure out whether there is any merit to these ideas in the first place, and if there is, then how can this idea be moulded into a project premise that can then be executed. This leads us to the next step: planning
Once your project management consulting team has assessed whether an idea is worth pursuing, it comes time to plan. The planning phase is by far the most important, and it is here that the true mettle of the consultant or consulting team is tested. Once you know the goal you need to achieve, it’s time to hit the drawing board and start brainstorming.
Logistics are the backbone of a business project. You need to know what you need, how you will get it, how much it will cost, and how long everything will take. These questions need to be answered and concretely defined before the project can be lifted off the ground.
The Wellington State of Project Management 2021 report is a great statistical asset when discussing project management. The survey reports that 58% of project managers use a defined project methodology, while 64% engage in risk assessment and management during the planning phase. This data is very helpful in illustrating the planning phase and how the top of the top in the profession go about it.
This is where expertise and experience in the industry are worth their weight in gold. An industry expert does not simply bring knowledge, but also connections. Say you need a resource to manufacture your product, well, your industry expert project management consultant will connect you with just the people you need.
On top of this, experts who have handled multiple projects are well aware of the typical pitfalls that are bound to occur for the project. From delays to miscommunications and uncooperative staff, all sorts of things can and will go wrong during a project, and it’s up to the project management consultant to set things straight and keep the cart on the rails on its way to the finish line.
By leveraging sufficient experience in this line of work, project management professionals can avoid these pitfalls that entrepreneurs would normally fall into if they managed the project themselves. When devising the plan, they can account for all kinds of potential outcomes and devise contingencies to keep things on track.
After planning how things will be done and what to do should things veer off course, it’s time for execution. Execution is where American President Eisenhower’s words ring painfully true:
“Plans are worthless. Planning is essential.”
What this means is that regardless of how flawless a plan you craft and how many risks you account for, things rarely go according to plan. This is where a true project management consulting professional shines through, for they can change, adapt and plan as circumstances demand.
The business world is a battlefield, and to achieve your goal you must be ready to fight for it. The project management consultant is the general on the business battlefield, observing the landscape from afar and making strategic decisions on the fly to make sure the battle to complete the project can be won and the project successfully launched.
This is where all that pondering and planning is set into motion and the rubber meets the road. The execution phase is aptly encompassed in this analogy, so no reason to belabour the point further.
How Do I Leverage Project Management Consulting Services?
When it comes to consulting, typically businesses have a few avenues to explore for finding project management solutions.
The obvious one is to put up a job post and start a hiring cycle every time a new project idea comes up. An alternative to traditional in-house project management consulting is outsourcing to project management consulting firms.
Basically, such firms can be called the gathering place of project management consultants from all parts of the business landscape. Project management consulting firms allow US businesses access to the global pool of talent, where they can take their pick of the litter from a diverse pool of professionals and leverage their skills to meet their project management needs at a fraction of the in-house cost.
Leveraging Project Management Consulting via Staff Augmentation
Onboarding project management consulting help through the staff augmentation model of outsourcing is another way to bring project management services to your business.
Staff augmentation is quite similar to outsourcing, but they differ in that staff augmentation services, such as the ones provided by Expertise Accelerated, are more about connecting businesses to overseas professionals. In staff augmentation, you are essentially augmenting a remote professional into your business, and they function as part of your in-house team. This presents you with a much greater sense of control and transparency and removes bureaucratic middle-management from project management consulting firms from equation.
Regardless of how you leverage it, the bottom line is that project management consulting is vital for businesses today. You may be able to function as a start-up without dedicated project management. Still, if you truly want your business to grow and bloom into a household name in the market, then you need to seriously consider onboarding or at least consulting a project management professional on the matter.