Posted by Brad Egeland
Based on my experiences (read: frustrations!) within various organizations’ Professional Services groups, I’d like to take the Project Management concept further and discuss it more in terms of the entire ‘Engagement Management’ scope. I believe that most organizations miss the boat these days by separating Project Management and indeed, the entire Professional Services group, from the Sales process. PMs are not salesmen – except when trying to ‘sell’ necessary change orders – and salesmen are not PMs. I have never had a customer who’s expectations were adequately set by Sales heading into the Professional Services portion of the initiative.
Basically, Engagement Management is a systematic approach that initiates with the sales process and ends with the engagement closing. This typically has an accounting component associated with it – overseeing the profitability of project engagements within an organization.
Engagement Management provides direct oversight of Project Management within an organization. Additionally, it should have touchpoints with Sales, Legal, Technical Professionals (developers, business analysts, network administrators, etc.), Accounting, and others as necessary. The processes that Engagement Management follows should support an organization as a whole in delivering products and business capabilities, not just the individual groups.
Project Management is a more narrow focus of providing management of an
organization’s internal/external projects while remaining an underling to IT, executive management and sales. Engagement Management should include Project Management, but should also focus on providing the organization’s Enterprise-wide capabilities and services to internal and external customers from conception to delivery thus maximizing customer understanding and satisfaction as well as the company’s revenue and profitability.
Engagement Management should provide the tie between Sales and the actual
technical solution at an organization. It should be the glue that holds the delivery process together with the intent of avoiding many of the disconnects faced by organizations when Sales, IT, and PM are all working under their own assumptions and priorities. Currently, many organizations are experiencing frustrating disconnects between Sales and Delivery. Some organizations experience these frustrations on a weekly or even daily basis. An Engagement Management structure helps to “standardize” the sales process and how that “sold” solution is translated into a “delivery” solution. When PMs and BAs are involved in the sales part of the process with the customer – whether that’s an internal or external customer – then expectations for that customer are more likely to be set appropriately thus avoiding delays, resetting of scope, and adding additional customer training that could have been taken care of before the engagement started.
Proposed General Organizational Structure
- Engagement Management
The Benefits of an Engagement Management organization:
- Customers see a standardized and professional engagement
process across all implementations
- Brings all of PM together and allows for future growth
- Allows for the ability to standardize the PM approach and
- Ability to define standardized PM templates and processes
- Not hindered or biased by a reporting relationship through
Operations or IT
- Ability to define a change management process and change
order/scope management process
- Engagement Management provides general oversight to all
inputs and deliverables in the delivery process
- Business Requirements Document (BRD) delivery and signoff
- Statement of Work (SOW) delivery and signoff
- Project Plan/timeframe definition
- Solution or product implementation
- Post implementation reviews
- Customer satisfaction
The bottom line here is, many PMO’s are well meaning and have useful process in place, yet continue to fail because they are not meeting the organization’s or the customer’s big picture need – and that’s a unified project delivery system that helps sell the product up front, implements the product, and then ensures proper training and support upon go-live.
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