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Additional comments on Outsourcing Project Management

by Luciana Rocha, PMP
(Brazil)

I do agree with you about every detail, and I would like to add some new comments:

DISADVANTAGES
I would like to put on spot the "internal resistance". Sometimes a company decides to outsource a project manager because there isn't a good and experienced PM to that particular project even though there is a couple of available PMs. Most of them will think company doesn't trust them or they are not good enough etc. Human mind is very complex and handling these feelings is as important as selecting a great external PM. We could say that dealing with these issues is a disadvantage and also a challenge.

I would also list as a disadvantage: the opening of business secrets to an external PM. What if this new PM tells to my rival some important secret of my company? Of course you can put a non-disclosure-agreement but even like this some companies don't feel safe enough and see outsourcing as a threat.

ADVANTAGES
Faster, cheaper and easier way to "hire", being in a government company. If you work in a government company here in Brazil you can have a new employee by two ways: doing a bidding process to hire a service of other company or doing a long process to really employ a new worker, including tests, homologation and so on. And, as I heard more than once at my organization: it's easier to make a contract to a project manager consultant company than following a sequence of steps to employ someone, especially because these steps don't guarantee an expert project manager but only a person that studied very much to succeed on exams.

Focus on your final business. Would you have enough time to give project management training to all your managers for a project that has to start within five days? Probably you wouldn't. Your company can't stop its activities, just because of the development of a new software, for example.

This situation occurred in my organization, one year before I was hired. They wanted to develop a new ERP system but they didn't have enough IT analysts and developers to do that, since their business is utilities and not technology. Solution was to buy widely known ERP software and also to outsource an external project manager to manage the entire project, since data migration until final users' training.

I would say in a few words that outsourcing project manager is a kind of "Active Consultative Practice". Think about it: when you hire a consultant, he goes to your company, knows your daily routine, analyzes facts, gives you a report about some issue and goes away. Look beyond and realize that an external PM is like a consultant but he has a plus: he makes a project happen not just in theory but in practice.

After all, each organization needs to decide what is more important to it. Knowing advantages and disadvantages (and their solutions) of both options will help them to get a better, shorter and longer term decision.

And if your company doesn't yet have a solid and experienced PMO, maybe you should be thinking about outsourcing some project managers.

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