Is hiring an external project manager a tendency?

by Margareth Carneiro, PMA
(Brasília, Brazil)

One must consider that a research must to be done to confirm this tendency. As a researcher myself, however, I am very positive that outsourcing project management is a trend.

What makes me more confident in this opinion is the PMI strategic planning session that I took part of last January (for the second time). Consultants researched and presented some high potential scenarios for the next years and, among others, one is "Growing Pool of PM Freelancers".

This pattern focuses on the increased number of practitioners working outside of the corporate structure. And, on the other hand, companies will be hiring project managers to their programs and projects as they appear, using outsourcing contract type.

As the article proclaims, there are advantages and disadvantages to both sides, but tendencies are tendencies, and I believe that both freelance PMs and PM companies will have more opportunities with outsourcing.

Those PM freelancers can work alone, or associated with others in social media or networking or officially associated as partners or even employees in a PM specialized company.

Some companies in PM area work focused in training and consulting for several years. The ones that are becoming financially stronger are those that are working on outsourcing together with consultancy assignments. At least that's what it's like in Brazil, the country where I live and work.

For several years, it was common for people inside companies to attend a PM course and try to do by themselves whatever was needed related to project management. Some succeeded, but indeed some (or maybe most) of them realized how big and challenging is the effort to change culture and implement good practices at their companies. Their lack of experiences gave them serious troubles.

In Brazil it is very common nowadays that companies hire a PM or companies specialized in PM arena to implement practices, such as a PMO, and to operate the PMO. Some others hire external PM to manage their projects, even though it is more common to see this in sectors different from IT. Civil engineers do this kind of work since forever!

Nowadays it is common for a company to hire a professional and experienced PM to manage different kind of projects such as Organization Change, a Business Process Redesign, creation of a new product, and so forth.

I have experienced both: freelance project manager and taking part of an outsourcing a PM team for a while. The second one, for my point of view was better. And I'll say why.

When you are a "lone star" as a project manager, usually you suffer a lot of pressure and some jealousy from others, what makes your life much harder. If the project is a challenge, the challenge will be increased several times because you will waste time to face and deal with this situation!

However, if you are part of one company that is outsourced, even though you are the owner and are working as part of the team, it can be different. The "imaginary" person that is the company IS the "person" that is in charge and there is the perception (and it is real) that the team can be changed if it is not working well.

So, the pressure is equal, but focused on the owner or commercial or contract manager, leaving project managers free to work.

Thanks for the opportunity to discuss this interesting topic! Feedback is welcome!

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Feb 05, 2013
Retaining General Managers
by: Joshua Frohm

I basically have a question: Is retaining general managers on a long term basis a common practice in Brazil?

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