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Project Management - What is Project Management Consulting?

Updated on March 29, 2015

Introduction

Project management consultancy is about providing a business with the skills, expertise and experience to help them manage their projects more effectively. This is normally achieved through embedding specialist, consultant project managers in a business to assist with the various aspects of project management. This article explores what a project management consultancy or contracting firm does and how it can be a benefit to your business.

Delivering projects is a complex discipline with many techniques, methodologies, frameworks and best practices. If your business is involved in delivering projects, then from time to time you may want to get some consulting or contractor support for your projects. A good consultant or contractor can have a very positive effect on your project management processes.

Project management consulting is a process where an external organization (the consultants or one or more contractors) come into your business to assist with some or all of your project management needs.

Good project management consultancy can really help you move your project forward
Good project management consultancy can really help you move your project forward | Source

How can project management consultancy help?

There are several areas where project management consulting can help out including:

  • Running projects and programs for you
  • Providing resources to a project team
  • Identifying issues and fixing problems in projects
  • Reviewing projects and programs for effectiveness and benefits
  • Auditing projects to see if they are doing what they should
  • Training project managers and personnel
  • Introducing best-practices, policies and procedures
  • Other tasks

Project consultants can help your team exchange ideas
Project consultants can help your team exchange ideas | Source

Running projects and programs for you

If you don't have the resources, experience or time to run projects within your organization, you might want to get a consultant or contractor in to help. Many consultants and contractors are highly specialized project managers that can normally get up-to-speed and start running your projects very quickly.

Providing resources to a project team

Even if a consultancy firm doesn't run projects itself, they can often provide specialists and experts with different skill-sets. This might include communications or reporting analysts, technicians and engineers, business experts and more.

Identifying issues and fixing problems in projects

Because they bring an objective, external perspective to projects, consultants are often able to quickly identify why a project might be getting into trouble. They can then provide advice, support and tools to help get the project back on track.

Reviewing projects and programs for effectiveness and benefits

You might want a consultant or contractor to complete a thorough cost and benefits analysis on a project to find out if it is worth continuing with or seeing if it needs to be re-evaluated.

Projects should run smoothly throughout their lifecycle
Projects should run smoothly throughout their lifecycle

Auditing projects to see if they are doing what they should

A consultant can provide a full audit of a project including what it is setting out to do, budgets, timescales, personnel and more. This can help a business to prioritize projects and help them run more smoothly.

Training project managers and personnel

Because they are often experts in many fields, a consultancy firm can sometimes offer training for project managers on new techniques and methods.

Introducing best-practices, policies and procedures

Due to being exposed to many different types of business and projects, some consultancy firms have developed good, well-tested best-practices for project management. They can introduce these into the project management function, together with helpful policies and processes.

Every member of a project team is essential
Every member of a project team is essential | Source

Other tasks

Contractors and consultants can also carry out other tasks such as introducing new frameworks, identifying project flaws, improving processes and more.

An organization might bring in project management consultants because it doesn't have the necessary expertise or resources itself to deliver some part of project management. Businesses often don't want to take on permanent staff if they won't be needed once the project has been delivered. Because of this, consultant project managers are often used on a temporary basis, especially in bigger organizations.

What to look for in project management consultancy

If your business wants to hire project management consultants or contractors, there are several areas that you will want to explore to make sure that you get good value for money.

  • Track record - Does the consultancy firm have a good track record and evidence of delivering successful projects?
  • Industry experience - Do they have a good understanding of your industry and sector and the challenges that your business faces?
  • Qualifications and skills - What are the various skills, experience, expertise and qualifications of the people that you are taking on?
  • Specialist services - What services do they provide and in what disciplines and topics?
  • Guarantees and assurance - What reassurance, guarantees and other commitments do they make to providing the service that your business needs?
  • Pricing - How much do they charge for their services and do they charge by the day or by the overall project? What do you get for your money?
  • Benefits - What are the potential and actual benefits for your business?

Principles of project management

Read more of our helpful, expert guides to successfully managing a project:

What is the most essential part of project management consultancy for you?

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In closing

A good project management consultancy business can provide you with a great deal more flexibility, experience and expertise when it comes to delivering projects. You will need to carefully explore exactly what they can do for you and establish if they are good value for money and can deliver the services that your business needs.

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