I just went to a memorial service yesterday that celebrated the special life of a dear friend. As I walked in, the family asked me to speak during the eulogy. The place was filling up. There were several hundred people there. My heart started beating faster, I caught my breath and speaking only from the top part of my diaphragm . . . said yes.
I knew that I could find the words. And I did. The stories came quickly to my mind. I carefully sorted the mental presentation of how I could help bring closure, transition and hope to her family and friends. It was a privilege to talk about a life well lived.
What does this have to do with project management? Well, a bunch! Many of us have been abruptly separated from our jobs. I have. It is a death of sorts. You feel the loss of your friends. You miss the routine of work. Some of our projects have been crazy, even over the top nuts and yet there are moments that still bring smiles to our faces about it. We are nostalgic about the good old days.
Yet the season has changed. Project management is undergoing wrenching global changes. The economy is forcing management to fundamentally rethink the employment paradigm. Outsourcing in the 90’s began to impact our projects. This century, the full force of societal shift is upon us and we are now outsourced. To survive, we need to rejoin the project team as a contractor.
Ouch. We didn’t see it coming. But we can’t hang on to the past. It is like wearing a buzz cut of the 60’s or the bee hive 10 inch hair style of the 50’s. Those hair styles date us. Instead we need:
-different mindsets as contractors
-new consulting skills
-a business brand
Join me this week as I provide on overview of the industry and how to position yourself for success in the new economy.
Take this survey now for answers later this week on Project Management Contractor/Consultant Best Practices:
Rosemary Hossenlopp, MBA PMP © 2009 All Rights Reserved
4 thoughts on “The Contractor: The Project Management 2009 Trend!”
While outsourcing will become more popular (easier to cut costs) I don’t consider it as a threat to teams, including project teams, as we know them now. If I was forced to outsource some work I’d look for a methods to move whole big parts. The more interactions you need to have with subcontractors the more effort you waste on additionally generated work. On the other hand until I was forced I’d be reluctant to outsource a part of my project unless I had no other option.
I believe a team which works together for a long time and people are going to stay there in the future too will be able to achieve better performance than the same people organized as different subcontractors.
I see what you are saying Pawel, but it really depends on how you set up the contract. If you set it up as a LOE-type arrangement you can essentially have contractors as direct team members who report to you for work management, but to their company for line management functions. This is a lot like many internal arrangements where the project team is made up of people from the functional organization. I’d argue the project manager actually has more sway in this arrangement, because there’s less convincing required of the line manager to free up their resources. I’ve worked in project teams like this before.
I’d imagine you could do the same thing with a contracted project manager.
In my last company I worked with contractors exatcly in a way you describe, which actually made them standard employees for me as a manager. The difference was only in papers. However, this isn’t fully legitimate according to Polish law since most of contractors pay lower taxes, so government tries to limit the number of contractors working that way. I guess US law is much more reasonable in this area.
Ah, I see! Thanks for the insight, it’s very easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking and writing about our own local situation, but very important to remember that things are different in other places around the world, especially when it comes to contract law!