Straight Talk on Project Management

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New Year, New IT Project Budget? Control costs and realise extra value – as a Service

Between now and April, large organisations in both the public and private sector will be allocating budgets. Many may be finding them to be not quite as generous as in previous years. 

Post-Covid many markets have changed; a number have contracted. Many are reporting how their IT Projects have had to be more reactive and flexible – with all the associated expenses. Others talk of how resources are at a premium in terms of availability and cost. 

Each week, it seems there is a new study or article about the demand for the very resources that you need to deliver your IT projects. Project Management remained a must-have tech skill for employers throughout 2021 and because project management also demands a solid mix of “hard technical” and “soft skills”, many project managers are exploiting opportunities outside the usual areas. In fact, any role where difficult decisions about technologies and managing stakeholders (including senior executives) are part of the job spec is fair game for project talent. More opportunities mean more demand, more demand means reduced availability, reduced availability leads to increased potential for value erosion.

All in all, how you spend your new budget has never mattered more. I would challenge you in 2022 to focus at least as much on worth as you do on cost.

Measure The Value Of A Resource (Rather Than Its Cost)

Value is the key. It’s easy to ascertain the cost of something – just look at the price tag! When you make it a habit to measure the value of the service or resource that you’re procuring though, that’s when you really start to see a return on investment.

Stoneseed’s Project Management as a Service (PMaaS), for instance, is a great example of a clear, straightforward commercial model and a service that adds real value. 

Stoneseed works with you to forecast the project resources required and then we provide a straightforward rate card with each resource defined by type and skill set. So not only can you see the actual cost of each resource but easily identify the specific value that they are adding to your project delivery. Furthermore, as resources are called off against your demand schedule, and can flex up and down throughout the period, you are simply billed for the resources consumed at the end of each month – giving you greater clarity on cost vs value.

I would urge this approach to all resource procurement – find a way to measure value returned, rather than simply cost expended. You’ll find you can make the same amount of money go a lot further when you do.

Project Management as a Service The eHarmony of Resourcing IT Projects

Recently, we looked at competitors’ “versions” of Stoneseed’s PMaaS and measured them against this “value-returned” metric and were quite surprised to learn that what they were calling a managed service was nothing of the sort. Whereas Stoneseed’s PMaaS is a true end to end service, what some competitors were offering was, effectively, a recruitment service for project resources.

Stoneseed’s PMaaS does provide access to project professionals, resources and tools, but not in a recruitment agency kind of a way! Our model is a full Managed Service, rather than just resource provision, a service that you can flex throughout the year and meet your specific needs. Our services portfolio offers a true end to end service, from IT Advisory, Business Analysis Services, Technical Advisory and PMO Services through to Programme & Project Delivery.

Project Management as a Service gives you access to provides access to a broad spectrum of project skills, made available against your demand schedule, from a single Project Manager, Business Analyst or PMO Manager for a few days, right through to a large team of fully utilised project professionals.

Actually, in response to the findings of our competitor research, a colleague said that while others were operating a project services recruitment agency, Stoneseed was more of a project services dating agency – we match the needs of the client perfectly with available resources. I like this analogy and would encourage you to swipe right on Stoneseed’s profile.

Commercial Model That Delivers True Value

So, Stoneseed’s PMaaS allows you access to project professionals, resources and tools, but it’s our commercial model that really delivers the value. Stoneseed’s commercial model means that this access to a full Project Management service catalogue comes at a totally predictable cost.

The “turn it on, turn it off, turn it up or turn it down” nature of the service allows the costs to flex in line with your need. Great for squeezing every bit of value from your new budget.

Whether you are in the public sector, from housing associations to charities to government organisations using DOS or G-cloud frameworks, or in the private sector where you will set up your own purchasing framework and tender processes, the need for ROI has never been more emphasised, but it’s more than that now, every pound spent must deliver measurable value. Maintaining control of costs has always been a pillar of our commercial model. PMaaS is a concept whose time has come.

PMaaS. Resources That Are Ready To Deliver Value

One of the easiest ways to reduce value leakage is to have on demand resources that will hit the ground running. The fewer breaks in ‘normal service’ the better. There are many ways that Stoneseed can help you to achieve this, here are just five:

 1 – Stoneseed’s team are experienced across multiple technology solutions, sectors and industries, so you’ll get the exact resource(s) you need, mitigating value leakage that can occur when you have to onboard incoming talent.

2 – We work on with all types of projects and programmes such as Business Change, Transformation, Infrastructure, Digital and IT Project Delivery, again meaning that your specific need can be catered for ‘as a Service’. 

3 – All Stoneseed’s PMaaS services are all available onsite or remote. Actually, we are experts in Remote Project Delivery and have been since way before the pandemic. When COVID-19 forced many projects into working remotely, we were able to offer continuity of service because we were already set up to function remotely.

4 – We adapt to how you work. Stoneseed will work with any organisations that have an Approved Supplier List or Preferred Supplier List to ensure that those organisations that need our services, can procure them via their chosen procurement route. You shouldn’t have to shape your processes to fit how your provider operates – that’s a value leak risk!

5 – Project Management as a Service PMaaS is truly end to end. Whereas with some providers you may be able to access Project Managers, but then have to restart the whole procurement process again when you need Technical Advisory expertise, Stoneseed can provide all the project resources you’ll need from Business Analysts (BAaaS) to PMO Resources.

And remember, Stoneseed’s innovative resource on-demand model allows you to dial up and down IT project resources in sync with your delivery needs. 

A friend has a new budget ritual, it’s a lovely story if you’ll indulge me for a moment and it chimes more and more each year. Malc, who I’ve mentioned many times in my blogs, starts the New Year with a fresh allocation of budget.

Every year he says out loud, “I’ll spend it wisely, Mr Castle.” 

The first time you hear this it sounds a little odd. Especially if you and Malc are alone in the office.

It harks back to when Malc was 10 years old, and he used to go to the local newsagent to collect the evening newspaper for an elderly neighbour whose declining mobility meant he couldn’t make the 10-minute walk himself. Malc did this to help, and not for any financial reward, he loved hearing the old man’s stories. However, at the end of the week, Mr Castle would insist upon paying the young lad – handing over a 10p coin every Friday and encouraging Malc to “spend it wisely”. Even then, 10p didn’t buy much!

Mr Castle passed away many years ago but lives on Malc’s memory and every time he gets his budget he fondly remembers the old man and promises to spend the new money wisely!

Cute story, but it’s more than that. As budgets are squeezed, costs inflated and resources stretched that 10p from Mr Castle is beginning to look more and more like a metaphor for IT Project budgets, and how you have to spend it really wisely to return any kind of value.

In conclusion, Stoneseed has been delivering tools and people to improve IT Project delivery capability and performance since the first day we opened our doors, even back when budgets had a degree of flexibility and cost overruns could be tolerated, our flexible, on-demand approach was giving organisations like yours more control over costs. Now that budgets are squeezed and every pound spent must generate measurable value, all those years of experience are geared up and ready to help you.

New Year, New Budget? In a changing world, we’re proud to still be doing what we’ve always done – flexible, tailored, end to end resources, at a predictable controllable cost. 

Consistency … as a Service

  Find out about PMaaS and procurement via Frameworks

Stoneseed-procurement frameworks 
Project management topped most demanded tech skills in 2021