Times are changing. Those times when it was necessary to evangelize and explain to clients about the added value of the PM’s role are being left behind as projects become larger and more complex, involve more people and, as a consequence, require greater levels of coordination.
Today, it is the client who takes the lead and requests a PM to be in charge of the project, to ensure that the objectives are met in a timely manner, to get the best out of each team member and to be ahead of the client in the event of any inconvenience. In addition, PMs are a visible figure for the client throughout the entire process: they do not just arrive at the end of an established period to deliver a report; on the contrary, they are present at all times to facilitate the work, make communication flow and coordinate all the team’s movements.
The essential link
It’s not just about theory. A provider of prescription management and home delivery solutions for veterinarians and pet owners with a presence across the United States used to work with a technology area that tried to meet the demands of the business sectors. To boost the business and avoid bottlenecks due to the growing number of requirements, the company started working with Making Sense. Immediately, the importance of PMs became visible for all parties involved to understand the progress of each project, the performance metrics or priority analysis, and also to achieve a better link between the product and engineering areas and stakeholders (i.e. the company’s C-level executive line).
Today, at Making Sense we have 10 teams working in this organization that involve more than 80 people. The role of the PM in each initiative is not even questioned. It is a mandatory element. Weekly meetings are held to analyze the progress of all pending tasks, to evaluate problems and to decide courses of action to improve daily work – for example, optimizing the work of team members. In addition, a collective effervescence is generated: proposals for improvement come from both the client and the technology partner.
Just one PM
As a matter of fact, at Making Sense we have had cases in which –having realized the added value of the PM in the management of a project– the client requested that we assign it only that role to interact with a fully-internal engineering team.
A company that provides software solutions to optimize the activity of the different actors in the dairy industry –in addition to having Making Sense PMs for its different teams– resorted to an additional one to homogenize the information of the different engineering projects and to consolidate the way reports are presented and methodologies used. Among other benefits, the client says it finds it valuable to have consistency across all communication elements, including project status reports, dependencies, risks, issues and even regular client meetings.
One step further: the delivery manager
A strategic and fundamental role emerges in the largest accounts, in order to keep a large number of projects in sync: that is the role of the delivery manager. This is the person to whom the different PMs of each initiative report, who is in charge of ensuring that management is consistent and that there is an additional scalability point in the event of a problem.
Delivery managers also have full information about the team, so they can facilitate the movement of people from one project to another in order to better distribute talent and optimize performance. At the same time, they take a long-term, organization-wide view to ensure the best results when integrating the different digitization initiatives being carried out by the company.
Times are changing. Today, starting a software development project without a PM increases the risk of being part of the whopping 70% of companies that –according to a recent report by the consulting firm McKinsey– fail in their digital transformation projects.