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Topics: Scope Management
Managing Projects with Multiple PM's
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I am looking for tips, tools, techniques and/or experiences for working projects that have multiple Project Managers. An example would be a prime contractor and one or more subcontractors, each with their own project manager assigned to the project. While I would think the general response would be for the prime to take the lead, with a clearly defined scope of work, I find that different companies practice project management in different ways and have different levels of project experience, maturity and practices. I find this leads to confusion over methods, documentation and processes to complete the work. Any thoughts or advice are appreciated.
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Depending on the relationship dynamics but in the contractor to subcontractor, the contractor had its process and all the other subcontractors including the client provided their pieces to feed into that. The subcontractors were allowed to use their own processes and tools for the most part but were held accountable to provide inputs to the contractors process.
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Who is accountable for the project? The accountable must publish status then the simplest interface with the others is the others give the accountable project manager the information needed to create status reports and for monitoring and control the main project.
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Add it to the contract and/or working agreement.
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1 reply by Eric Isom
Jun 07, 2019 7:35 PM
Eric Isom
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Absolutely!
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To add to Andrew's feedback, if the rules of engagement are not explicitly stated in the contract or SoW, the delivery leads from each contributing organization should get together at the onset to formulate a working agreement covering such things as issue management and so on. The overall project communication management plan would also cover some of this as each contributing organization would be considered a key stakeholder.

Kiron
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Well, in practice there is a big project which is broken down to smaller projects. All small projects should be planned based on the big plan/idea. all responsibilities and duties, as well as authorities, need to be clear for all managers.
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If in fact there are multiple projects of substantial size, then what you have is a Programme rather that a project. Firstly, I would ensure that there is one single accountable owner for the entire programme, and then I would agree accountabilities between individual project leaders/owners/managers and the Programme Owner.
If accountabilities are clear, then methodology per project is a non-issue.
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1 reply by Kapil Gupta
May 29, 2019 10:33 AM
Kapil Gupta
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The Key point to decide whether we are dealing with Program is that all the constituent projects should be interdependent and should result in benefits that would normally not result if they are managed independently. Many times projects are independent and no benefits can be obtained if they are treated as program, especially when you cannot share the resources and you dont have a program authority and tools, integration skill sets available. Carefully choose the project or program strategy approach based on the overall organizational benefits you are trying to achieve.
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May 29, 2019 7:15 AM
Replying to K. T. Sriram
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If in fact there are multiple projects of substantial size, then what you have is a Programme rather that a project. Firstly, I would ensure that there is one single accountable owner for the entire programme, and then I would agree accountabilities between individual project leaders/owners/managers and the Programme Owner.
If accountabilities are clear, then methodology per project is a non-issue.
The Key point to decide whether we are dealing with Program is that all the constituent projects should be interdependent and should result in benefits that would normally not result if they are managed independently. Many times projects are independent and no benefits can be obtained if they are treated as program, especially when you cannot share the resources and you dont have a program authority and tools, integration skill sets available. Carefully choose the project or program strategy approach based on the overall organizational benefits you are trying to achieve.
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When dealing with large complex systems, there is simply too much for one PM to do and you naturally have layers of projects from components, subsystems, major systems and architecture level integration.

Sometimes one technology or another aspect is prime, and that function will manage the overall project. A common problem with this approach is that teams under different management will often sub-optimize decisions to the benefit of their own team but to the detriment of others. An overall integration layer PM working at the architectural level is often used because their focus is on the overall project success, not one single performance metric. Also because they're not "down in the weeds", they have more capacity to make sure all the various project plans are integrated and better able to know when a change in one area might impact other plans.
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Validates the importance of the kick-off meeting. Of course each firm will have varying flavors of PM practices, culture, skill level of PM, and ways of doing things in their firms. They are entitled. But the PM leading the project (the prime, the GC, etc) should establish how things will be done on THIS project for THIS client and set the tone and pace and compliance.
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May 28, 2019 6:36 AM
Replying to Andrew Craig
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Add it to the contract and/or working agreement.
Absolutely!
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