The Project Management Consultant

I’m intrigued.

What is a project management consultant?

Late last year I did a session for the PMI Virtual Talent Management Conference (it’s still available on demand until March 2016).

It was called “Why Project Management Needs a Modern Day Project Management Consultant

My definition about a Modern Day PM Consultant was this:


Project Management Consultants

The widely accepted definition of a consultant or consultancy is:

the science of providing objective relevant guidance and counsel to decision-makers without possessing an ownership stake in the decision” The Value Creating Consultant, Carucci and Tetenbaum, 2000

When we chatted about this recently on #pmchat there was also the general agreement that PM consultants are indeed someone who advises but doesn’t ‘do’.

Yet I don’t see a lot of this definition when I talk to project management consultants or indeed when we look at the latest Project Management Benchmark Report where we asked project management consultants, “As a “Consultant” what are you delivering to your clients?

Project Management Consultants


65% of project management consultants do in fact carry out two things – they advise and they do, i.e., they also deliver the project or ‘solution’ too.

Back to the session I gave, this is what a modern-day project management consultant means to me, in a nutshell:

Project Management Consultancy

During the session I also talked about the situations where hiring a project management consultant makes sense. If current project practitioners are thinking about a career in consultancy i.e., being hired to helped solve a specific project management problem an organisation has and then deliver that solution too, these are just some of the situations where they can help:


Let’s make it clear, a project management consultant is not just a project management contractor or freelancer. Those roles you see on job boards for contractors at £xx / day are by and large not project management consultant roles.

Why not?

Because these roles are often well-defined i.e., the organisation knows what they want the contractor to come in and do – they know the solution to the problem, they just want someone to deliver that solution.

ppm-consultantComing back to the latest Project Management Benchmark Report, we have a section on the Project Management Consultant (you can download the report to take a closer look at that)

In it, we also asked what kind of consultancy gigs people are getting. What are organisations asking them to do?

If you’re thinking about making the move into project management consultancy as a sole consultant, is there anything you could learn here about the types of work they are doing?

Here’s the categories of responses we got:

  • Strategic Portfolio, Programme and Project Management
  • Project/Programme delivery and methodologies
  • Communication, stakeholder management
  • Leading Transformation & Managing Business Change
  • Change Management. Customer Experience
  • Planning, Monitoring and Controls
  • Behaviours, Simulations and Sustainability
  • Transformational Change and Complex Programme Management
  • Management of oil and gas projects
  • Mechanical & Electrical Construction Projects
  • Complex Programme Delivery and Rescue
  • PPM Software
  • Turnaround
  • Project Process Project Diagnosis PM People Development Project Tool Development Project Supervision & Monitoring
  • Metrics
  • Digital Operations, Strategy
  • Healthcare project delivery
  • Delivery of a wide range of highly complex service and/or works projects using specialist procurement routes
  • Organisation Improvement & Organisation Readiness
  • Defence Outsourcing and Procurement
  • Organisational Development
  • Earned Value Management
  • Change and Transformation across the Transport sector in particular
  • Turning around projects that have stalled. Mentoring other PM’s
  • Implementation of large Corporate Information systems for the Higher Education sector
  • Competency development and assessment Project Based Learning
  • Agile PM
  • Biogas plant projects and technology
  • PMO. Organisational Design. Portfolio Management
  • Benefits Management
  • Cultural awareness associated with programmes / projects in the Middle East
  • Construction management CDM / OHAS Mangement

Organisations don’t always have the ways and means to hire the Big Blue consultancy organisations to help them through the problems they face in project management. An individual who specialises in an area – who has worked for many years to become an expert in their field – and who doesn’t just advise but rolls up their sleeves and delivers the solution they propose.

These people are the modern-day project management consultants.






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