Magazine article PM Network

Stay in Bounds

Magazine article PM Network

Stay in Bounds

Article excerpt

GLOBAL If companies need some outside help, they typically recruit a contract project manager. Instead, it may be time to bring in a project coach, someone who provides project oversight while simultaneously training internal staff in project management processes.

When contractors leave, they take their knowledge with them. But if a company hires a project coach, all that project management knowledge is "transferred to the project manager and project team members within the organization who are now ready to take on additional projects," writes Michael Stanleigh in an article recently posted on his company's website. He is president of Business Improvement Architects, a management consulting and training firm in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

A coach can work with a company's project manager and project team to "guide, counsel, advise and coach them through the many processes within the management of the project," he says. At the same time, the team is developing the skills necessary for future projects.

Coaches may also prove cost-effective because they're usually not required on a full-time basis after the early stages of the project. Beyond that point, the assumption is that the project manager and team members will have learned how to manage a project.

But a coach may not be the best bet if time and speed are concerns, says Ford Alison, a managing consultant with PM Solutions, a project management consulting, training and research firm in Havertown, Pa., USA.

"Working with a coach means the project should run efficiently and well, but hiring someone from outside will generally ensure the project is done faster," Mr. Alison says. "The coach has to take time to train people so ... if you have a project that is in real trouble and keeping to your schedule is critical, you probably need a 'hired gun' to lead your project, not a coach."

Companies should also avoid hiring a project coach when they already have experienced project managers in-house who can mentor other project managers, Mr. …

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