Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Project Management within IPMS?
Project management is planning, leading, organizing, executing and controlling a broad range of activities to meet a project's specific requirements - with maximum efficiency and quality. Project management is particularly important when projects consist of complex, deadline-driven, interdependent processes, or when they involve multiple organizations.
2. What do IPMS project managers do?
PIPMS professionals build detailed project roadmaps, coordinate activities and communications, and ensure that carefully made plans are carried out by all players. IPMS project managers do not make decisions; rather, they facilitate best decision-making practices as an objective third party, and then ensure the project stays on track via both technical and interpersonal skills.
3. When should I consider using an outsourced project management service like IPMS?
Companies use external resources for many reasons. Some don't have in-house expertise or have too many projects for existing staff to handle. Others wish to focus their staff on core competencies instead of on planning, coordination and project execution. Some firms are faced with difficult decisions or turbulent third-party relationships that require help from an objective facilitator. Finally, many companies want to learn project management best practices, to establish a template for continuing success.
4. How can project management reduce my company's risk?
By planning proactively and engaging a highly structured approach, project management improves an organization's ability to get things done on time, on budget and with accuracy. Skillful project management can help companies anticipate and avoid potential pitfalls by employing specific risk-management strategies, and mitigate problems that do crop up by facilitating effective decision-making.
5. Shouldn't our own managers be able to run projects?
Yes - if employees have specific project management skills and are tasked solely with guiding the project. In practice, project management is often an add-on to an employee's regular responsibilities or assigned based on availability. An effective project manager focuses on project process: facilitating decision-making as an objective "third party," building detailed project roadmaps, coordinating activities and communications, and ensuring that carefully made plans are carried out by all participants. Project managers must have honed organizational and interpersonal skills, and be as immune as possible from internal political pressures in order to act effectively among multiple individuals and teams.
6. Why not just hire your own project management staff?
That may be the right decision, depending on a company's circumstances. Some companies find it difficult to recruit, train, hire and retain good project managers, and prefer to bring in external experts like IPMS on an "as needed" basis, who are highly skilled and ready to hit the ground running.
7. What if we already have project managers on staff?
IPMS often augments internal project management groups when there are too many projects for the team to handle, there is a staff vacancy, or in-house personnel lack specific project experience. Clients have reported they've improved their own skills by working with external professionals who offer best practices gleaned from a variety of projects and organizations.
8. We need project management help, but won't it disrupt our operations?
IPMS professionals blend into organizations with minimum disruption, becoming teammates, while bringing the project management skills needed to meet client goals.
9. Is using IPMS more expensive than tapping my internal staff?
Our clients indicate that they consistently realize a significant return on their investment. One client reported a 400% return on every Rand invested in IPMS services, resulting from earlier product launch and operating cost savings.
IPMS suggests that professional project management fees be viewed in relation to the ultimate value of its contribution to the bottom line - such as bringing a new product to market faster; optimizing processes to drive lower costs or improve productivity; or salvaging a strategic business alliance.
10. Can IPMS quantify the value of project management for its clients?
Yes. IPMS proactively documents its value creation on several levels for each client, for example:
- Financial measures, such as return on capital deployed, revenues and cost savings
- Project/process measures, such as budget conformance, schedule performance, resource utilization, time to market, meeting technical/quality specifications
- Customer measures, such as customer satisfaction, customer retention, customer acquisition, market share
11. Do you use particular project management software?
IPMS does not endorse specific project management software packages, but uses tools that fit the size and culture of our clients' organizations. We've used software such as Microsoft Project, Microsoft Office Suite and enterprise project management systems. We have found that it is best not to "force fit" activities into a certain format or template, but choose the appropriate tool for each individual circumstance.
12. What makes IPMS unique?
In addition to strategy formulation and detailed planning, IPMS's staff work alongside clients throughout the course of the project, to ensure successful plan execution and to facilitate effective decision-making, should unexpected challenges arise mid-stream. Many consultants provide advice and develop plans, but few conduct onsite follow-through.
Experience and qualifications
IPMS project managers bring years of experience across a range of operating environments. The majority of IPMS's staff have received professional certification through the Project Management Institute and some are Six Sigma certified. IPMS averages more hours of continued training per year per employee.
IPMS is committed to our core competency - project management. We apply best practices honed over thousands of projects across a variety of client environments and are proud to have earned 90% repeat business.