Many project management consulting professionals rely on some level of internally-provided services—IT, HR, Facilities, Purchasing—to round out their projects. Unfortunately, competing for these resources with the rest of the employee population can sometimes leave your project low on the priority list. How can you improve your chances of getting the services you need, when you need them, without alienating someone?
Involve support groups in the project’s initial planning phase. Getting buy-in becomes a no-brainer once the internal teams become true project partners. This is also helpful in ensuring follow-through on scope, timeframe, and charge-back commitments, as internal resources will likely be under the influence of the same executive team that approved the project.
Get estimates for internal services. You don’t want to create unnecessary work, but asking internal groups for budget numbers or estimates will create better visibility for the importance of your project. If you’re tight on dollars, you might consider comparing your internal estimates against those from external vendors. Be sure that all discussions around cost also include firm expectations on timeframe and scope.
Clearly state your needs. This is particularly important if your project requires specific expertise or significant, high-level support. You don’t want to be assigned a junior-level professional if your project needs someone with many years of experience. This is one area where ambiguity can really sink your project, so provide all internal groups with written statements detailing your requirements and expectations, and strive for the level of granularity you would normally use for external vendors.
Maintain active communication. Tip the allocation of internal resources in your favor by keeping your project’s timeframe and deliverables front and center. If you’ve given internal project management teams sufficient leadtime, information, and accurate data, they’re more likely to juggle competing requests for support without impacting the resources they’ve committed to you.