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My 5 Differences When You Move from the "In-House” Project into Commercial Project Delivery.


Not every project management is the same

As PMO and recovery manager I recently came across a project which required intervention. It was data analytical solution development for one of the big retailer networks. When I met with the project manager, I was confused about why we have issues. He was very professional with very snappy project status information. The project team loved him. But the customer, salesperson, the management were quite unhappy.

By getting some background it becomes clear: that project manager built up his career delivering product development projects within his organization. Now it was his first commercial delivery to an external customer. PM was smart and able to learn fast, but for the price of the first project be not so successful.

We often change our job and organization we work. And our disciplined - project management, has multiple flavors. Here are my top 5 changes you may expect When switching from in house delivery to commercial delivery for the first time.

1 Negotiations

A project delivered on a commercial basis to an external customer is a transaction. There are negotiations before contracting and there are a lot of negotiations during delivery.

As example, for many change requests, be ready to negotiate. To be successful as a commercial project manager You want also to demonstrate flexibility in negotiation skills. It does not mean giving things away. Just get ready for how to handle negotiations.

2 Two customers, double reporting

Ok in "In-house" delivery you also may have your own organization and have a customer (an internal). But with commercial delivery, this is 100% real.

You, as a project manager, have to satisfy both. They both have different KPIs. Your own organization, almost granted, is interested in a happy customer and a profitable project. 

The customer is interested in product service and risk-free delivery.  Get ready to address both -own organization and a customer.

3 Financial management

As a commercial delivery project manager, it will still be especially important to manage, scope, resources, workload, schedule, change, etc. But for sure you need to manage very well cost, profit, revenue, and billability.

Management of project cost, profit, revenue, and billability is key in commercial projects delivery

Your own organization expects this as second to customer satisfaction. Solid financial management is key in commercial delivery.

4. Oh, there is a salesperson as well.

You are working for customer and you probably are not alone. There is almost given there is another person, either sales or partner or engagement manager who looks after the customer.

It may be disturbing as you need to get aligned, but if well-used it can be very helpful as well. Make sure you are in synch with that person along with all project delivery.

5 You do sell as well

Finally, you are the face of your own organization in front of the customer. This is particularly important. You are expected to build relationships and sell, up-sell and cross-sell, and … sell.

Most project changes will probably need some selling.

The rest is the same business

But most of project management activities will not differ when you do 'in-house' or commercial. You will need to manage scope, resources, schedule, expectations, and all that it takes. Also, many of the points above are also part of "In-house" projects. As every project has its specifics. 

Now, what are your top changes when switching from commercial delivery to "In-house" delivery?

Please put your favorite points in the comments.


About the Author:

Marek Rudnicki

With over 25 years of experience in new technology companies specialized in professional service and consulting business solutions. Working for different industries like banking, insurance, telecom, e-commerce, manufacturing with a vast track of the delivery of data analytics solutions.  The key experience is consulting and project delivery - from presale into program management and project portfolio management and practice/portfolio governance. Most of the career working within a multinational environment, managing team, and in a very distributed model organization.



Note and Disclaimer: The author of this Blog post is Marek Rudnicki. He is the guest author of pmi.hu. The writing reflects the author's own professional opinion, findings, and conclusions, which do not necessarily agree with the position of PMI Budapest, Hungarian Chapter, and cannot be considered as an official recommendation, resolution, or opinion of PMI Budapest. The copyright and publication rights of the writing belong to the original author.


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