Project Management as a Managed Service: A New Spin on A Time-Tested Strategy

March 1, 2020 | by Bruce Miller

Our de facto “managed service” approach has saved organizations millions. Now we are formalizing it.

Since PM Solutions was first established over a quarter-century ago, we have operated as a primarily virtual organization, using small administrative centers to support a large number of consultants, trainers and specialists in the field. This strategy was designed by our founders to help a small start-up access the best talent, wherever they might live. Over the years, it has also operated as a de facto “managed service” approach, saving our clients millions by providing the right people with the right skills at just the right time … sometimes without the impact of providing office space or even travel expenses.

Our project managers leading key strategic projects and account management resources are available and onsite … when required. When it makes sense and there is additional flexibility with the project team for key team members with complementary expertise to be virtual, PM Solutions proposes to support the onsite team with remote project management and project controls team members.  These resources travel as needed but work the majority of time virtually, saving time and expense.  Providing remote resources also allows access to talent outside of our immediate area – or the client’s – which can provide additional expertise and business value.  PM Solutions administrative offices have virtual and telecommuting capabilities where project managers and project controllers can strategically support clients.

Formalizing a “Managed Service” Approach

It has been our experience that there are additional Service Level Agreement (SLA) performance indicators used to judge the efficiency and effectiveness of Project Management as a Managed Service (PMaaMS) beyond the individual project measures; these include:

•            Quality and Customer Satisfaction – Count of deliverables which are not accepted at customer sign-off.  This indicates effectiveness of quality procedures prior to the sign-off event.

•            Resource Utilization and Demand Management – utilization actual versus utilization estimated; indicates the efficient use of project resources, can also indicate the effectiveness of duration planning processes.

•            Project ROI – actual costs versus projected benefit value. Indicates both cost and benefit planning process effectiveness.

•            Task/Activity Duration Variance – percentage variance for repeating project tasks and activities. Indicates the efficiency of resources for well-known tasks or can indicate duration changes for repeating tasks.  

In general, when we arrange PMaaMS SLAs, there are two thrusts: the individual project in-flight performance indicators, as well as indicators looking to make the organization holistically more effective at managing all projects. Typical in-flight performance indicators in the midst of executing a project include Schedule Performance Index (SPI), Cost Performance Index (CPI), Earned Value. Overall PMaaMS health indicators include partner resource attrition, the effectiveness of our account management and responsiveness, and deliverable quality.

PM Solutions’ Program Reviews are designed to ensure client satisfaction of overall service quality as well as advice and insight on issues that may arise from our work. Typically, the Program Reviews provide insight and discussion on the following areas:

  • Accomplishments during the previous period
  • Planned activities
  • Budget and spend rate
  • Issues and Concerns
  • Observations and Recommendations

PM Solutions tailors the Program Reviews to satisfy additional requirements clients may have for status and update of the agreement.

PM Solutions is trusted by top organizations around the world to deliver PMaaMS.  PM Solutions brings together its unique combination of consulting, training, and research to deliver innovative project management approaches to our clients.  We leverage our extensive library of accelerators – our collective client experiences and industry best practice processes, templates and tools, all benchmarked across industry.

To build a trusted partnership with our clients, we have a vested interest in demonstrating that the services we provide improve our clients’ business performance in measurable ways. We are proud to have helped lead initiatives for our clients that resulted in double-digit project maturity improvement, time-to-market acceleration enabling direct revenue growth, and on-time delivery of multi-million-dollar programs.

PM Solutions currently has a number of customer engagements that are PMaaMS including global companies in the manufacturing, energy, and healthcare sectors, as well as government agencies.  For these strategic partnerships, most of these PMaaMS relationships extend multiple years and one has been continuous over the past 15 years. We have been successful in these partnerships because of our focus on understanding our client's culture, our attention to detail and our responsiveness. PM Solutions spends significant time understanding the specific skillsets and interpersonal needs, the culture and success factors for our clients, and the experience required for each role.  We then invest time onboarding each resource with client expectations and the project management approach.  Once onboarded with the client, PM Solutions provides oversight for each resource, along with coaching/mentoring and continuous education to ensure our resources are providing best-in-class service to our clients.    

In my second blog in this series, I’ll talk about how we leverage our thought leadership to help clients achieve their goals.

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About the Author

Bruce Miller

In his role as president, Bruce Miller is responsible for leading the strategic direction and performance of the PM Solutions consulting division, PM College training division, and the research division (PM Solutions Research).

In his most recent role as Director, Xavier Leadership Center (XLC), Williams College of Business at Xavier University, Bruce led the growth of XLC’s executive education programs, helping individuals and organizations achieve the next levels in their professional development journeys. Having started his career with nearly a decade of business experience at GE, Bruce brings executive leadership experience from positions within both highly specialized and global professional development and professional services firms. His business experience is reinforced by an MBA from Xavier University.

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