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Outsourcing Project Management: Disadvantages

What are some possible disadvantages of outsourcing project management when compared to an employed project manager?

(This article is part 2 of a set of articles about outsourcing project management) 

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Habman_18

Here’s what my research came up with, but feel free to leave a comment below, or send me your feedback directly.

list of Disadvantages of outsourcing project management

  • Weaker connection between the project manager and the organization. It is usually quicker and easier to contract somebody from outside than it is to employ somebody. The same applies to letting go. This brings a disadvantage of having a relationship which is usually NOT as strong as with an employed project manager.
  • Less knowledge about organizational culture and processes. Especially at first, an external expert needs to spend some time and effort to immerse herself in the company culture, and has to come to understanding the formal and informal processes of the organization. With time this disadvantage tends to diminish.
  • Possible resistance from within the organization. People from within the organization may start to feel intimidated by an outside expert, or jealous even. It is a slippery ground and needs to be addressed very carefully, by building and nurturing relationships with individuals within the organizations.
  • In larger projects, the risk of longer-term tying to one vendor. This is actually rather similar to having an employed project manager, but because of the somewhat weaker relationship with the vendor the dependence might seem even more dangerous. Reliability of the vendor plays a great role in addressing these feelings, as well as good relationships with organization management.
  • If project management is your competitive advantage, outsourcing it weakens the advantage. Obviously. But it's a big IF. Although I’ve seen organizations that like to think of their project management practice as their competitive advantage, it is true basically only if their competition uses no project management at all. Of course, higher maturity level does bring many benefits, but it can rarely be enough by itself to win over the competition. I would say that today project management practice is necessary, but relying only on project management is certainly not sufficient. Therefore organizations should really think about this: Is project management really our competitive advantage, or is it already a commodity that we need to have no matter what?

What would you add to this list of outsourcing disadvantages? I would love to see your feedback below, or simply use this form to send it to me

Now, let's have a look at the next article: Advantages of project management outsourcing.

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› Disadvantages