Project Management

Outsourcing PM: You Get What You Pay For, so Only Pay for What You Get

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at

Yes, project management is important. I think it’s safe to say that we all get that.

But project management becomes so much more complicated when contracts get involved. If nothing else, it seems to cause so many more project managers (or people who call themselves project managers) to pop out of the woodwork.

Years ago, I was managing a big organizational change project for a customer. I was the project manager. I had a project director, who in essence was the day-to-day sponsor. And then there were two people (who failed to see eye to eye on a fairly regular basis) who formally held—jointly—the title of project sponsor. And while the dynamics of simply navigating those relationships were fairly complicated, that’s a topic for another article. Because that wasn’t nearly the extent of what we had to deal with.

The organization outsourced its IT services to a large company with three letters in its title that shall remain nameless. Negotiating the provision of infrastructure for the project—and it was indeed a negotiation—involved having a project manager assigned from the vendor to develop and oversee the statement of work. Deployment of the software onto servers was a different statement of work, with a different project manager. There were also two software vendors involved in the project and—you guessed it—two …

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Necessity is the mother of taking chances.

- Mark Twain