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Get Along? Or, Get It Done?

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Without exception, projects in any company will touch multiple stakeholders, departments and individuals. The changes required will invariably touch operations, engineering and procurement, just to name the basics. Projects make and break budgets. They also make and break careers.

Getting a project done requires leadership that does not care about social standing within the organization. Good project management needs to stay singularly focused. Successful Project Manager’s (PMs) stay on budget and complete on time. Getting there always requires perceived winners and losers inside the organization. Some person, position or department’s ox will be gored. It’s the nature of complex organizations.

So, the reason why companies shy away from using outsiders to manage those projects is beyond me. Outside PMs are are the perfect fit. They have no political capital to expend, and no need to bank anything for future career contingencies. They don’t need to participate in the myriad of supplemental activities required of employees. They don’t have competing priorities.

Project Managers from outside the organization are 100x more likely to get it done than insiders. They are more able to remain objective. They lack legacy bias. They are open to best, and not likely to be intimidated or pushed into accepting just good.

Smart leaders find a strong PM. They give them a specific mission. They set guidelines for time and budget. They create boundaries. They insist on timely and accurate progress reporting. They monitor progress. Then when the project is finished, the smart leader bids the PM a fond adieu. The organization adjusts to a revised equilibrium brought about by the changes accompanying successful project completion.

If there are bruised egos or hurt feelings, they go with the departing PM. If there’s no PM around to take forever credit for the project’s success, everyone can take some credit for the new normal.

Outsider PMs are a better choice.

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