• Simon Riley

Do you really need a full time Project Manager?

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

I’ve been managing projects in one way or another for over 20 years, and for at least 15 of those as a consultant. One of the things I’ve found is that I rarely end up managing merely the piece of work I was engaged for.

Just like thousands of other contract consultants my client engagement model was to be paid a professional day rate, for five days a week, for the duration of the project – and I often found myself with spare time because, as any experienced project manager (PM) will tell you, there are peaks and troughs to managing a project.

I have more than enough experience to tell if a project really requires a dedicated manager. So it’s at this point that I’ll have a chat with the client who is paying for five working days per week. Often, we’ll amend our statement of work and I’ll pick up another project or I’ll help with other activities, such as service transition or hypercare.

Wow, you may think, ‘Win. Win’. The client – who can AFFORD and has BUDGETED for a full-time, highly experienced PM is getting more value for their money and the PM is staying busy and can continue to invoice for five working days per week.

And therein lies the problem.

To take on an experienced and talented PM you need to have pretty deep pockets. If you are a large company with multiple projects in-flight and in a constant state of change then permanent staff supplemented with consultants to manage the peaks is the most effective way to run your project management.

But what if you’re a smaller company, or you have less need for technology or business transformation? Surely the ideal scenario is a PM who’ll work just the hours required to manage the one project you can budget for, after all, you’re paying for a project manager, not an extra set of hands in your organisation.

The number of times I’ve looked at operational expenses and seen ‘Project management’ at or very near the top. That is just insane!

There must be a better way for companies to avoid project failure and cost overrun because their business case cannot justify appointing a PM practitioner in the traditional way.

Highpath offers a better way

As an example, on one in-flight project we estimated that the client would need a PM for two days per week on average. So we supplied a PM to work one day in the client’s office and to be available for two hours per day for the rest of the week to maintain constant contact with the project team. We could also flex additional effort, as and when the project required.

That is why Highpath was founded.

We are unique in our field.

We actively work with our clients to ensure that engagements with our project management experts is based on requirement, not headcount.

Find out more at

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