Project Management

How to Get & Nurture the Best Freelance PM for Your Projects

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Some organizations regularly outsource project management functions to freelance/contract project managers. The reasons vary, from the need to have specialized expertise, to not having enough ongoing projects to warrant full-time staff and more.

Like most other outsourcing endeavors, the results realized vary from joyful success to painful failure. The odds of achieving success in using outside PMs can be much improved by following the guidelines offered below.

Contracting Considerations
Beyond having a strong track record in successfully managing projects, finding a PM that has strong industry and subject matter experience can accelerate their ability to hit the ground running.

For example, in 2020 I was contracted to work on a state’s COVID contact-tracing system. While I knew little about contract tracing, my state government and healthcare industry project experience helped me to be a fast learner, especially in the areas of terminology.

An area often overlooked when contracting for PM services is the PM’s chemistry with the team members they will be working with. A PM that fits in and assimilates can enhance the momentum of a project and set the stage for success.

To ensure success, it is important for both the organization and the PM to be forthcoming and transparent about expectations related to the PM’s support and adherence to rules, …

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