Complete Guide to Creating Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) Firm

by Desh

Project Management as a Service Firm (PMaaS)

We have a world where a lot of things these days are being offered as a service.  We have Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Communications-as-a-service (CaaS) and even Monitoring-as-a-service (Maas)!  All the activities and products that can be performed more effectively and efficiently once they have been standardized can be provided as a service to organizations through Project Management as a Service.

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Project Management is one such area which is ripe for being offered as a Service.  Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) is the new thing.  Some companies have already started offering it with their specific set of talented employees and some offer their range of products.

There are two parts to the equation of offering Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) – one, Project Management talent and two, Applications and frameworks that help manage projects.

Structure of a Project Management as a Service Firm

The PMaaS offering is strict with respect to Portfolio/Program/Project Management.  It can be offered as a complete turnkey PMO office or as a combination of staff augmentation offering.

Offer Value and NOT Low Cost

Bottomline advantage to the client needs to come via value as opposed to low-cost offering.  Most clients do not have the skills or the infrastructure to create a robust PMO or manage a portfolio of projects or a large deployment.  What a professional PMaaS firm with talented and experienced Program/Project managers can offer is efficiency and value-creation from successfully managing strategic and large programs and projects.  Unfortunately, not many companies realize what a well-managed PM team can do for overall growth and company value.

Offer Value to Client  Complete Guide to Creating Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) Firm Current State to Future State

Offer Value to Client

Steps to Creating a Robust PMaaS Firm

Before you embark on creating the right kind of PMaaS firm with service offerings, you need to ensure that you have the wherewithal to scale up and provide the necessary backup for your program managers.  These steps will ensure that you have what it takes to set up the firm.

Create your own Project Methodology Framework:  Yes, PMBOK has the framework, but do you have it all detailed right down to the phase gates and also the templates that YOUR firm will be using?  Given the industries and the applications (LAMP Web development, SAP, Oracle, CRM etc) have you clearly laid out the detailed methodology that your PM-consultants will follow?  No matter who leads a project, s/he will always follow ONE specific framework and templates.  Have you created that framework?  If not, do that first and foremost.  It is extremely essential.  Create the templates and the framework and also have a QA group which reviews and ensures the quality of the project management at each project.

Craft your Firm Around Results and not Services: It is very easy and natural to sell your services as opposed to specific outcomes for your client.  But that shows a hand-offish kind of arrangement.  As if you don’t have the “skin in the game”!  Craft your offerings around what you can accomplish for your client.  Articulate specific value-creation for the customer.  Don’t just offer your PMs as if they are from a herd of cattle!

Invest in a good Application Toolset:  There are enough toolsets which not just offer work management and document management but also project management suite.  Identify one or create one that will help ensure that your community of PMs can not just interact with each other and manage their projects/deliverables but install that PM tool at the client to manage each project.  Lack of proper tools for the consultants can mean the difference between success and failure

Create Industry and Project Scenario Templates: Your team needs to be driven by processes and methodologies that are used across the board in your firm.  So, create PM templates for different industries and for project scenarios.  Not always will your team enter a project at the beginning or with full preparation?  What happens when your PMs are asked to come and salvage a project which is in the Design stage?  How do you quickly get it back on track and deliver within time and budget?  No matter who from your team enters projects like these, the modus operandi and the results should be similar.

Create a Team of Qualified and Experiences PMs: Quality is important for your PMs.  You can choose a mix of PMs who are qualified in traditional PM related certifications – Prince2 and PMP – and the Agile related certifications.  Beyond the certifications, the team should have experience in different kinds of projects.  Create a buddy/mentor system within your team to ensure that the less experienced can engage with the senior level PMs to get their advice on tough clients and project situations.  Just don’t throw your PMs into the deep sea.  Make them succeed.

Create a multi-tiered Team of Program/Project Managers: Your team should have program managers and Project managers of all levels of experiences.  And a pool of global PMs who can take up projects in China, India, and the US at the very least.  It is advisable to have a team of less experienced project managers available to coordinate activities for onsite project managers virtually.  The pricing that you can offer will incorporate a mix of these levels.

PMaaS Organization Model

Based on the steps above, we have documented the entire model into this infographic for you.

PMaaS Consulting Model  Complete Guide to Creating Project Management as a Service (PMaaS) Firm PmaaS Model

Project Management as a Service Consulting Model

Benefits of Project Management as a Service firms

Low-Cost Structure: PMaaS firms which specialize in Project Management will essentially be able to provide a better cost structure than a regular consulting firm or contractors from outside.  The in-house project managers could be an option but they will not be conversant with the Best Practices and the latest wisdom in the area.  Also, they may not have the templates and the consistent methodologies that PMaaS firms can invest in.

Objectivity in Project Management:  Many projects go downhill because the Project Manager being from one geographical location or business group favors one way of doing things, even when it is contrary to reason.  A professional PM firm can look at every situation sans any emotions or loyalty.  The only decision-making criteria should be Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) for any situation.  As long as the client is benefited as a company, the firm should go ahead with a certain way.

3rd Party Advantage: When working with different business and IT units, there are moments and scenarios of friction.  Using an outside 3rd party firm to manage a project helps.  They will not be afraid of calling someone up for being late, for example, if that impacts the schedule and timeline.

Resources for further learning on PMaaS

You can also check out our one more article on “Project management”: “10 Critical Elements For Successful Project Management

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