What is Project Management Consulting?
Project Management is the key process that allows household-name companies to excel in product development
Time and money are gained or lost every day at the project level. The decisions teams make at the micro level, at each hour of the day, can make the difference between meeting or busting schedules and budgets; between having a superb or a merely adequate feature set; between having a product that delights customers or a “me too” offering, in the middle of the pack.
TCGen’s approach to project management helps companies rationalize their product portfolio. We help companies control the complex dependencies between one project and another that help prevent projects from tripping over one another. Our tools for managing resources and clarifying responsibilities speed decision making and increase the predictability of new product success.
Our signature project history tools and retrospectives ensure that your teams capture the learning that enables continuous, incremental improvement, shaving time out of projects, one day, and one decision at a time.
Who is Project Management Consulting for?
A Range of Industries
TCGen works with product companies across industries. We have improved project management in the medical devices, telecom, technology, software, computer hardware, and consumer electronics spaces. Any company that wants more reliable budgets and schedules, with fewer bottlenecks, can leverage TCGen’s Project Management expertise and suite of best practices.
The gazelles, companies that have bounded past the start-up level and are now facing the problem of managing multiple projects, are especially poised to leverage project management consulting. We have worked with maturing technology companies, in particular, to help them scale and achieve the next tier.
Mid-sized Companies Managing 20-100 Projects
TCGen’s project management consulting is ideally suited to mid-sized companies that are managing 20 to 100 product development projects. This is the range of company that finds itself facing knots and bottlenecks, as a relatively small number of projects compete for the same pool of resources and executive attention. Our boundary condition process, that defines the parameters of a project while empowering teams to the maximum, is especially effective for companies in this range. Larger companies, in mature industries, looking for incremental improvements in project speed and predictability will also benefit from our project management approach.
How do we structure Project Management Consulting engagements?
Tested and Approved Methods
Typically, TCGen’s Project Management Consulting engagements have four steps: assessment, developing custom solutions, training; and then using metrics to manage change by monitoring behavior. In project management work, the assessment is crucial. We identify the critical few, meddlesome issues that tend to persist from one project to another. We then use our proven tools to identify the root cause of project bottlenecks, identifying solutions that not only make a difference, but also help your company to learn and improve over time, long after our engagement is over.
Project histories and Retrospectives
Our project histories and retrospectives follow a structured process for gathering and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data; for identifying the most important areas for improvement; and for capturing that learning. Project management then becomes a capability that grows over time as teams learn from their experience and one another. They stop making the same mistakes, while expecting different results.
Change Management Experts
Our expertise includes both project management and change management. Our project management engagements take account of the politics and special requirements of your team and your organization. Our change management approach eases teams into new processes, focuses on the most important levers of improvement, and uses metrics to influence behavior. Teams see the results, when their responsibilities are clarified, when decisions come quickly, and as schedules become more predictable. Seeing quick, team-level results, builds buy-in and leads to further improvements.
“We’re making better decisions faster.”
In what kind of timeframe do organizations see change after a Project Management Consulting engagement?
TCGen’s assessments take about one to two months, with perhaps another month or two to create solutions and build the required training. In a project management engagement, teams will see rapid improvement, since we frequently work with projects that are in-process. Immediately following the assessment, managers will begin to see improvements.
Our project management tools will quickly change how decisions are made. Project managers and program offices will see teams reprioritize, as they untie knots in decision making that cause projects to stumble.
Over a 4 month to a year period, project managers will begin to see further gains, as teams begin to conduct post-mortems and retrospectives that add to the project management knowledge-base, providing a solid foundation for the future.
What kind of internal resource commitment should a company plan for when considering a Project Management Consulting engagement?
A Point of Contact
Companies should plan to provide a point of contact who will serve as an internal driver for the engagement. This point person, usually an individual contributor or team manager, serves as the resident expert and as our guide through the organization. He or she helps to organize workshops and functions as a project manager for the engagement. Helping TCGen to improve the organization’s Program Management capability should be this individual’s top priority.
Typically, in a project management consulting engagement we also work with a Vice-President of Engineering, a Director of Engineering, a Program Office or Project Manager who serves as our internal champion. This individual will act as the driver of the engagement for the client organization, providing access to data, and attracting the attention of upper management as needed.
Since our project management work involves extensive post-mortems and project histories, we will request access to project data such as schedules, budgets, project plans, roadmaps or other artifacts. Teams will also need to set aside time on their schedules for these detailed post-mortems.
What do people say about their experience after a Project Management Consulting Engagement?
Our project management consulting clients report that they no longer waste inordinate amounts of time waiting for decisions. With the tools we provide, teams can begin to identify how they can easily cut weeks or months of out of schedules by clarifying who makes decisions, and when. As one Apple executive said after we completed an engagement: “We’re making better decisions faster.”
The best testimonial we receive is repeat business. Companies that have taken advantage of our project management consulting expertise often ask TCGen to solve wider challenges, at the system level, or to duplicate our prior success in another division. Project management deals with life in the trenches. Having improved processes at this level, companies may wish to step up to the program management consulting level, where our expertise in product portfolio management comes into play. But the time and cost saved from rationalizing project management is never wasted. The basic blocking and tackling at the daily, project level, is all-important.