Qualities of the best project management companies
At Royal Services, our expertise, knowledge, and experience lies in the form of multi-site project management within the world of construction services, facility maintenance and technology solutions. However, the ideas discussed below are applicable to all areas of project management, regardless of what the core content is. A key aspect to remember is that regardless of how good the project management company is, if the people that are tasked with actually executing the work are not competent, you will have a disaster on your hands.
What exactly is project management?
Project management is essentially where a temporary endeavor, "a project", is executed to achieve goals and objectives within given parameters. The typical trend that we have witnessed over the past decade is large corporations partnering with one or more project management companies to meet their needs without the costs associated with having this talent on their books. It makes it easy to scale up and down, reduces the strain on internal resources, lightens your HR department's workload while at the same time providing you with access to the best talent within the industry.
Size does matter
Some small to mid-sized organizations will have just one project management company that they will rely on for all of their needs. Larger companies may have relationships with upwards of 5 project management companies to handle the workload they are faced with and this can change depending on the volume of work, time-frames and capacity.
How to select the best project management companies
As with most things in life you could very quickly perform a Google search to get an idea of some of the biggest project management companies out there, but to ensure you get the best partner to meet your long-term needs, here are some things to consider as part of the qualifying process:
1. Positive reviews from clients and employees - In this day and age getting reviews from people about a certain service, product or person is not terribly challenging. A quick online search is likely to provide you with enough information to get a good feel for what these companies look like on a daily basis. Look at both sides of the equation, look for trends, and focus on the more detailed reviews where someone has genuinely put thought into what they wrote rather than just giving them 5 stars because it's a family friend.
2. Referrals from past or present customers - Although looking at reviews is a great starting point, we need to remember that some of these positive reviews could be from the owners and their families, and negative comments could have been posted by jealous and fearful competition. A good way to get a better idea of how a company operates is to speak with people who are currently using them, or who have done so in recent years. Most companies will provide you with 2 or 3 companies to call on, and we all know that these are likely to be glowing responses. Challenge them to provide you with more clients that you can call on to get a truer picture of the overall organization.
3. Make a site visit - People can talk a great game over the phone, but things can be very different in person. Have them come to you and then make the return visit to get a better idea of how they operate, what their culture looks like and how they behave in their natural environment. Just be prepared to see some bad habits that might not have been present earlier in the conversation. This is also a great way to get to know more members of the organization as well as transition from the sales team to ops.
4. Let them practice what they preach - The proof is in the pudding so look to have your shortlist of candidates perform a smaller job that will allow them to showcase their capabilities before committing a huge project to them. Going on a few dates before getting married sounds like a simple idea, but many people select their project management partner after one call and are firing them before one job is complete.
5. Unified communication, both internal and external - most projects span multiple stakeholders so be sure to look for a company with watertight communication strategies to ensure all key players are kept on the same page throughout the project. A small trial project allows you to test this and iron out any creases before rolling the solution out across your entire network. Just remember that it is a two way street, and for the partnership to be successful both parties need to be committed to one another and have the goal of creating a win-win situation. If you develop a reputation for beating down on your vendors and looking to set them up for failure, you will soon find yourself in a very tricky situation where your growth will be stunted due to a lack of resources.
6. A comprehensive database and reporting platform - this goes hand-in-hand with 5 above. A huge component of guaranteeing success in project management is managing expectations and providing deliverables. Your partner(s) need to be organized in a way that provides you with peace of mind knowing that the job is going to get done. If you are unable to access simple things and the project manager is unwilling to share you should start looking for a new service provider as this one isn't going to work out. From the very first conversation, clearly define what you are looking to achieve from this relationship, what hasn't worked in the past, what your expectations are address any concerns that you have. By getting these out in the open at this early stage, both parties can go there separate ways if they need to without getting too deep into the sales funnel.
When you are looking to sift through the huge number of project management companies that are out there, hopefully this checklist will help you to build a relationship with someone that will be an extension of your team for many years to come. If you are looking for a project management partner to support you and your team with your construction services, facility maintenance, and technology solutions needs we would love the opportunity to share our story with you. You can schedule a complimentary consultation to start the process, and we look forward to showing you how our Service That Solves promise can benefit your business.