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Posted by Niamh Aughney | 01st August 2023

Five Project Management challenges in a Professional Services Organisation

In a professional services organisation, project management faces several unique challenges. Here are five main challenges commonly encountered:

Client Engagement and Communication: Maintaining effective communication with clients is vital in professional services project management. Clients often have high expectations and require frequent updates and collaboration. Balancing client demands, addressing concerns, and managing client satisfaction throughout the project can be challenging, particularly when working with diverse clients who have varying communication styles and preferences.Having project performance insights available on demand can significantly ease this workload and allow the PM to focus on impactful communication and management.

Resource Allocation: Professional services organisations often have multiple projects running simultaneously, with limited resources available. Allocating the right resources to each project becomes a significant challenge. Ensuring that skilled personnel are assigned to the appropriate projects, considering their availability, expertise, and workload, requires careful planning and coordination. Resource wellbeing and retention is a key priority, and a system to support a well-balanced workload is critical to support this.

Scope Management: Managing the scope of projects is crucial in any organisation, but particularly so within professional services where profitability is driven by billable time. Invariably clients will request changes or additional deliverables throughout the project lifecycle, leading to scope creep. 

Project managers need to effectively communicate project boundaries and manage client expectations to prevent scope creep, which can impact timelines, budgets, and overall project success. Presenting change requests early in the project set a precedence for the ongoing project governance. 

Documentation and Knowledge Transfer: To support the project managers and technical leads it’s crucial that project documentation such as statements of work and functional specifications have adequate detail. Without this, it makes the management of scope and preservation of budget and timelines practically impossible.  

Additionally, as typical projects will involve various team members, and new people may be added to projects mid-flight, it’s crucial to have evolving documentation such as lessons learned, process changes and all other project related documentation preserved and available in an easy to access manner.

Ensuring effective knowledge transfer and maintaining comprehensive project documentation help in improving future project performance and reducing reliance on individual expertise.

Time and Money: Professional services organisations typically operate within strict deadlines and tight budgets. Managing multiple projects with different timelines requires meticulous planning, prioritization, and effective time and task management. 

Most importantly, ensuring project margins by assigning budgets to a task level, and tracking time consumed against those budgets is essential to the profitability of a professional services organisation. A solution to help manage the project tasks, and allow easy updating of time and status by all project resources will make the life of a project manager much easier, and drive margin and revenue in the right direction!

The solution

Critical to successful project management is the utilisation of a Project Management solution, like Dynamics 365 Project Operations.  

Project Operations connects sales, resourcing, project management, and finance teams in a single application to win more deals, accelerate project delivery, and maximise profitability.

If you’d like to find out more, please reach out via email [email protected]


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