Improving project delivery – project management as a managed service


Many organisations struggle to develop the project management capabilities they need for effective project delivery. Interventions such as training for project managers, accreditation or the introduction of a project management office yield patchy results and performance remains poor. In fact, large organisations estimate that poor project leadership and bad decision-making waste, on average, 20% of project costs. As a result, organisations still find themselves:

    • relying on contractors, of varying quality

    • managing high level of churn in the workforce

    • lacking a consolidated, shared view of portfolio risk

    • encountering the same 'bear traps' in successive projects

    • investing senior time to get things 'over the line'

    • failing to achieve expected benefits

Piecemeal improvements neither address these issues fast enough nor yield sustainable results. A systematic approach to upgrading project delivery can improve performance and we have an enviable track record of driving performance improvements in excess of 25%.  However, many organisations are unable to free up funds to invest in more cost-effective project delivery or to bring in external expertise.  Others manage to build a strong case for change but do not have a sufficiently mature delivery capability to implement their action plans or, if they do change the way they manage projects, fail to sustain the new ways of working.

To improve project delivery, businesses should consider accessing project management support as a managed service. With a set number of projects delivered for a fixed budget, in accordance with agreed service levels, businesses can secure the consistently high-quality project delivery they need, often with no net increase in the overall portfolio costs.  With the right service provider, they can simultaneously address the challenge of improving their own project management capabilities.

Delivering projects more effectively

Managed service providers are focused on achieving the deliverables and outcomes set out in the service level agreement. To do this, they must not only manage the risks for individual projects, but also identify and mitigate the systemic risks. In doing so, they raise the overall level of assurance and confidence in successful project delivery, freeing managers within the organisation to focus on the business and its market.

Maintaining portfolio costs

The level of rework from poor quality control can be significant in some change portfolios. Along with the impact of late or uncontrolled change and the often-high turnover of contract staff and associated recruitment costs, this can add considerably to overall project delivery costs.  Expert project management, provided as a managed service, can eliminate these costs and could deliver the portfolio with no net increase in overall portfolio cost over its lifetime. 

Improving the organisation’s project management capability

An organisation’s project and programme management delivery capability comprises many important features. Managed service providers improve their chances of delivering successfully by identifying aspects of the organisation’s capability that constrain or block effective delivery and by working with the organisation’s staff to identify and implement better ways of working.  As a result, using a managed service provider enables the organisation to gradually wean itself off its external support. 

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