Cooperation between consultants (consulting companies) and clients is sometimes harder than it seems. Although the collaboration usually moves along clearly defined goals, it is very common that such challenges come up which can jeopardize the success of the project. In this article, we provide some insight into these challenges from the perspective of the management (client) and give some tips for the solutions.

What change management means is not easy to define, but typically it is an approach that provides support to handle changes in the life of a company, team or individual – including changes of processes or costs.

The question is whether we need to involve external resources? Where the external project manager’s power lies in? Let’s face it, as a leader it often seems risky to involve 3rd parties in such a sensitive situation.

A project manager can provide support not only in managing the changes but can give suggestions to the improvement of the business processes and implementation of new IT solutions.

As a first step, the management’s first and most important virtue is to recognize that the company is in lack of the appropriate knowledge, resource and capacity to handle issues which come up in line with the growth of the business. In the field of finance and accounting, such a case can be an acquisition which is usually so complex that the experience of the colleagues involved in the daily operations is not enough to handle the management of the project.  Another frequent example is the implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system because of the intensive growth of the company or the increasing expectations of the management, at the same time the optimization of the processes is also necessary. It can also happen that the external project manager is needed to effectively lead a project in connection with a subtask of a complex process. A typical example of this is the adaptation of the Hungarian legal regulations for the invoicing program, system testing or the replacement of the old system.

The management of these cases requires such abilities and skills which should be left for a specialist, and for the solution of these issues, the full focus of the project manager (or project team) is needed.

 

 

 

 

 

What are the advantages of an external project manager’s appointment for the lead of a project?

know-how: it worth to choose a project manager who not only analyzes the processes but also have professional knowledge in the relevant field. Such project manager probably has already experience with similar challenges, we can expect that above the project coordination the manager can also give professional advises, estimate the resources needed for each subtask and can give an opinion in a decision situation. Moreover, with professional knowledge, the project manager can have a strong quality control on the project.

+ additional „eye”: based on our experiences companies often operate processes that they do not even remember how or why it was implemented this way. Having an external professional (“eye”) is a possibility to identify and fix inefficiency or processes using outdated technology. In turn, efficiency has a good effect not only on the speed of processes but on the budget as well.

+ cost: as projects usually have a predictable timeframe it is more expedient and cost-effective to outsource the handling of these challenges and appoint an external professional. A project manager typically needs less working space during the project, no HR administration work should be allocated for the manager and no benefits are payable to him, while the time spent on the project is effectively utilized – contrary to a full-time employee.

+ communication: a complex change in which 3rd party professionals are also involved affects many people in the organization. And these people would like to have information about the changes and how they affect their everyday work. Besides the information given to the employees by the line managers, it worth to involve the project manager also in the internal communication to clarify the project’s objectives and messages in a credible and effective manner and explain the effects of the project on the organization.

Appointing a project manager also has some risks:

honest feedback: the additional „eye” also brings a new perspective and may question the reasonability of processes and ways of work. Therefore, it is important for the management to be open for the feedback as this is the way for reaching the real results and achieving goals.

+ standardized vs customized: although many consulting companies say that they provide customized solutions, we often have the impression that they only try to fit our project into their standard framework. That is why it is important to ensure already in the proposal / contracting phase that the other party understands our needs and adopts them into the implementation plan.

All in all, we can say that consultants generally focus on one project, but their success and popularity lie in their ability to look at each situation in context and based on their professional knowledge they can use their expertise in other business areas as well. When we face a complex issue keep in mind the possibility of involving a 3rd party professional. And when we decide between the proposals of consulting companies, consider the above factors, weight them based on their importance and where possible ask for a reference about similar projects. This way we can ensure to choose the partner who is the best for our expectations.

The „secret weapon” of BPION services is the Project Office team, who can provide:

+ Complete, professional project management
+ Implementation of unique needs
Specialized professional support

on the fields of finance, taxation and payroll.

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