Archive for May, 2015

Does Your PM Really Have Your Best Interests at Heart? – Part 4: Added Value

May 19th, 2015

Added Value

I hope that the points posted so far have provided a beneficial perspective on what to look for when hiring and evaluating your current project management firm.   These values and skill sets should be a standard part of basic services, so it is important to thoroughly research what you, the Owner, are actively seeking.  However, there is one area that does not necessarily have a fixed price and is also difficult to calculate.  This is the area of added value…………or the extra benefit that your project manager brings to your project that does not have a separate cost line on your invoice.

But how do you define added value?   Every Owner will have different convictions, but if your PM is truly looking out for your firm’s best interests, then they will have knowledge outside of their immediate area of responsibility.  Have they made attempts to understand how your business operates so that the project has a limited impact to the day-to-day business?  As the project moves towards completion, they should offer solutions and suggestions that not only benefits the project, but also is an added benefit to your firm.   Does your PM interact with other departments and other leaders?  Do they communicate ideas and suggestions in areas of the project that might be lacking attention from your internal groups?  Do they ask you questions to get you thinking about other areas of the project that perhaps you have overlooked?  Are they responding to your immediate needs and forecasting future concerns?  Your PM should be your project PARTNER as well as your firm’s partner and have a vested and genuine concern about the success and failure of the project.  Basically, providing you exceptional service when and where you least expect it (or when and where you never see it) is an authentic sign of added value.    


At the end of the day, only you, the Owner can state whether or not your PM has provided any added value to their fee and services.  If your preferred firm has a reputation of extensive add-services, this might be a sign that they perceive any extra benefit to only be defined by dollar signs.  When the contract was signed, did you review the fine print?  Does their contract allow for you to terminate them at any time of the project without any additional fees?  Some project management firms have a clause that compels you to pay them the remaining term of the contract even if you choose to dismiss them from your project (even if you believe that their service is sub-par).  Is that type of clause in your project’s best interest and is this representative of added value?

Hiring a PM firm is a supplemental cost to any project, but one that has the potential to have remarkable positive impacts on your project’s success (and damaging impacts if the wrong PM is chosen).  Although the normal method of thinking is to cut costs early, sometimes these additional costs can be a benefit and actually save you money, time, and your project (you have to be smart where to apply your capital dollars).  Remember, in most cases you are hiring a project management firm to handle an area where you either have no expertise, or do not have the man-power to effectively lead a project.  Sure these costs might appear to be outside of your budget if they were never accounted for early on, but consider your situation and consult with your team on the overall impact that this will have on your firms project (i.e. investment)  Whether you’re hiring a new PM or are reviewing an ongoing contract, all of the issues reviewed in this 4 part series should be addressed and discussed to insure that you’re getting the most out of your capital dollars and out of your PM.