It’s common for project teams to worry that a high-performing outside consultancy could make the Project Team’s efforts look bad by comparison. However, the opposite is actually true. An external partner, bringing objective insight and a wealth of knowledge that crosses many types of organizations, can make your internal lead look even better.
By tapping your outside consultancy’s expertise, you can improve the team’s results and boost its image among executives, sponsors, champions, end users, business partners, and other collaborators. Consider if this external resource could be the key to your Project Team’s mission to achieve better long-term results.
Start by improving your data
A lot is riding on the information your team provides, not just to the executive group, sponsors, and other project champions, but also to end users and vendors, who may each use that information as the foundation for their own project-related activities. An outside consultant has the expertise to help your primary PMP® identify a number of ways to improve the value and weight of the data that’s distributed to key stakeholders, from past expenditures to productivity forecasts to industry benchmarking data to trends identified in end user feedback surveys.
There are several aspects of data management that may be improved through a partnership with an experienced consultant. There could be an opportunity to fine tune the sources and methodologies used to gather information to make the resulting data more useful. Data analysis protocols might be modified to extract the types of information that are most needed by the organization. An outside expert will also be able to review the team’s presentations skills and look for ways to better highlight the value of the data, or to make it more easily understood by stakeholders and others who don’t have a strong background in interpreting project information.
Now improve your reporting
Reports form the backbone for many of the communications flowing between project teams and stakeholders. They’re a common vehicle for disseminating information prior to important meetings and have become a mainstay for time-pressed executives who want to remain in the loop on current activities. Providing useful reports at every stage in the project’s lifecycle can be facilitated by working with an external firm to put all the pieces together in the most efficient and effective way.
Status updates can often be streamlined to cull extraneous information and give stakeholders the data they need in easily-digestible segments. Improved technology tools also make it possible to offer more timely updates through an on-demand model. This approach gives stakeholders access to valuable data when and where they need it, while also reducing friction that may develop inside the Project Team when PMP®s are required to create status reports on request.
Next, work to boost your leadership capabilities
Consultants offer a window into a project management environment that’s less politically charged and more transparent. Seeing the methodologies an outside consultancy uses to work with stakeholders of all types—difficult end users, less-than-committed sponsors, price-sensitive executives—can be a great way to expand the team’s own capabilities when it comes to leadership.
By applying these same techniques internally, PMP®s will be better equipped to act as a neutral party during contentious project discussions. They will have the skills necessary to bring disparate stakeholder groups together, peel away the divisive behaviors or mistrust that may be hampering progress, and hammer out agreements that address concerns on all sides of the table. Partnering with an outside consultancy puts the Project Team’s leaders in a much better position to leverage the talents and expertise held within the project group, leading to improved performance on the team’s own merits.