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03/09/2021

How Much Does a Project Manager Cost?

A 2020 Wellington survey found that 43% of companies mostly or always accomplish projects within budget. Unfortunately, that means there are plenty of companies out there struggling to stay within their project scope, which can lead to a range of other project problems: scheduling difficulties, deliverable struggles and more.

If you’ve ever found yourself in the position of watching a project run over time and budget, you understand that not only does your bottom line suffer, but you also worry about the future reputation of your project team and the potential impacts on your clients and company. 

Fortunately, experienced project management consultants can bring clarity, calm and consistency to your projects.

Project management consultants provide a flexible alternative to full-time internal resources, which you may not have the budget to fund. And here at MetaPM, we offer several different pricing models and ballparks for project consulting and resourcing. So let’s take a closer look at the benefits of hiring an external Project Management Consultant.

Why Hire an external Project Management Consultant?

The 2020 KPMG Australia and Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) Survey found that just 48 per cent of respondents felt their organisations managed projects and programs effectively or very effectively. So how can an external Project Management Consultant improve your odds of success?

Flexibility

When you outsource project management leadership, you provide your team with a scalable solution. For example, instead of bringing on a full-time internal staff member, hire experienced help for the times you need it. Scalable project management consultants give you precisely the right amount of support at the perfect time, and when you don’t need assistance, you keep your costs in check. 

Breadth of experience

An in-house project manager has a lot of experience with your company, but their view can be limited. On the other hand, an external consultant has a breadth of experience, having worked across several businesses and project challenges. This broader view brings fresh ideas and perspectives to the table, as well as a cautionary voice about possible pitfalls. So why learn the hard way what other businesses have already encountered?

Cost reduction

As mentioned above, external project management help is a cost-effective resource that can scale to meet project needs. Projects come and go, and when you need all hands on deck (and then some), you can hire external consultants to keep your project on track.

Peace of mind

Perhaps most importantly, hiring a project management consulting firm gives you the peace of mind that an expert team is dedicated to your project’s success, improving your processes and providing governance and support throughout the entire journey. To many business leaders, the ability to refocus on their core skills while entrusting their project delivery to the experts is the perfect recipe for a good night’s sleep. 

For example at MetaPM, we implement a proprietary delivery framework called COMPASS, which defines in clear terms the key success metrics of the project, and tracks progress throughout via weekly reporting and continual assurance. This framework ensures that our Clients and Sponsors have complete confidence that their project is delivered to the highest standard and that roadblocks are identified and mitigated early.

How Much Does a Project Management Consultant Cost?

The benefits are clear, but how much does it cost to hire a project management consultant? Because our clients have different needs, we’ve developed three separate pricing agreements.

1. Time-based pricing

Our time-based service fee is perfect for clients who wish to engage our services for a fixed amount of time. The average engagement duration is typically more than one month but less than one year (although contract extensions are common).

You’ll find that our standard fees are very competitive, with a mid-level consultant starting from around $125 per hour or $1,000 per day for a typical 8 hour day. Maximum fees for our Principal consultants average about $250 per hour or $1,800 per day.

We also differ

2. Capped-time based pricing

Clients who are constrained by a budget and need to limit their spending often opt for our capped time-based service fee. In this case, we settle on daily rates and critical deliverables at the onset of our agreement. 

3. Fixed pricing

Our fixed-price service fee is popular with clients who want to shift the ‘delivery risk’ to external project management consultants. It’s an ideal solution for businesses that don’t have the in-house skills, knowledge, and processes to deliver the work.

Project Management Consulting vs Project Management Resources: What’s the Difference? 

MetaPM’s Consulting and Resourcing services differ, but how do you know which one would work best for you?

MetaPM’s Project Resourcing Services target ‘time-based’ contracting engagements or once-off engagements or projects. Let’s say you need help with delivering a specific project, and you don’t have enough management expertise to pull it off by the deadline. Our Project Resourcing Services will help you pull through.

Project Consulting Services, on the other hand, are more targeted to ‘fixed-fee based’ engagements. Therefore, these services are perfect for trying to solve a specific project problem. You may not need a project manager to oversee an entire project, but you do need help tackling one specific problem. Project consulting services can help you solve the issue and move on.

Depending on your business needs, you might find yourself using these two services at different times, depending on your current project needs.  

Where Can I Source Project Management Consultants?

If you’ve decided that you have capability gaps and need to engage a project management consultant, there are several types of providers who may offer to fill this role. It’s important to evaluate these options carefully to ensure their services align with your project goals and business requirements.

Recruiters

Third-party recruiters can offer to source suitable project management consultants for your business. However, recruiters can have a CV-centric mindset and often carry none of the risk if the candidate under-delivers.

Body Shops

Project consultant “body shops” often have a broad field of consultants, but don’t often have the deep capability required for complex projects. They don’t always invest in developing capability and IP, and are happy to sell your business what they have, not necessarily what you need.

System Integrators/Boutique Firms

Boutique firms offer deep domain but aren’t always project specialists. They can be solution-centric, not necessarily results centric.

Charter Firms

Businesses who use charter firms for their project delivery are often wowed by a slick sales process where they’re promised the A-team. Unfortunately, it’s often the C-team who arrives once contracts are signed.

MetaPM - Our Model

MetaPM is designed as a specialised project-only consultancy and training firm, with a blended talent model to ensure your project needs are met. 

If you’re unsure what path your business should go down when engaging a project consultant, consider:

  • What price are you prepared to pay?
  • Do you intend to lead the project or be led by experts?
  • What is the risk of failure to your business and clients?
  • Who will be accountable for the success of the project?

At MetaPM, we can offer an Initial Project Management Consulting engagement, which will provide you with the insights needed to make an informed choice on the best project partnership for your requirements.

Reach out and get in touch!

The best business solutions require a custom approach, and that’s why we prefer to start with an in-depth consultation. Your business is one-of-a-kind, so it needs a solution that fits like a glove.

Take the first step toward on-time, successful project management by requesting a conversation with one of our experienced consultants. We’re here to help you achieve your goals.

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