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.


What is Engagement Management?

Project and Engagement

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


- Sales


- Engagement Management

- Operations

- Etc.


The Benefits of an Engagement Management organization:

Project Management

- 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 reporting

- 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 

- Post-implementation

- Customer satisfaction

- Solution or product implementation

- Project Plan/timeframe definition

- Statement of Work (SOW) delivery and signoff

- Business Requirements Document (BRD) delivery and signoff inputs and deliverables in the delivery process

- Engagement Management provides general oversight to all