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How Independent Project Management Consultants Drive Success

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Bernard D. Borowski is an independent project management consultant with decades of experience as a principal at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and as a senior executive at large corporate enterprises such as JP Morgan and Sanofi. Borowski describes his independent consulting work as “an obsession with creating value from the digital transformation of business services.”

In this exclusive interview, Borowski shares his secrets for delivering ROI using a tried-and-true methodology any project manager can learn from. 

The 4 Levers of Project Management Success

Barowski has built his career and thriving independent consultancy on a proven track record of “freeing up millions of dollars in cash, putting significant business risks under control, and turning around customer-facing operations,” he says. 

Borowski points to four levers that he can help clients pull in order to drive project success and strategic outcomes:

  1. Consistent processes orchestrated with workflow technology.
    Borowski doesn’t believe in one-off successes or driving isolated pockets of success within departments or specific business areas. Instead, he works with clients to drive and scale process improvement across the entire organization. Borowski’s management process experience has made him an expert practitioner at scaling project successes and improving processes across entire organizations for maximum value creation.
  2. Reliable, clean data.
    Data that is clean and well-governed is far more likely to produce reliable business insights. Relevant, actionable data is the fuel that drives ongoing business improvement at both the project and organizational levels, so Borowski helps client companies build and leverage a strong data ecosystem that becomes an engine for ongoing performance improvement.
  3. Disruptive technology.
    Driving business efficiency requires blending and balancing the right processes, technology, and well-trained people. Borowski helps his clients select and implement the right technological solutions to meet the challenges they face. Digital transformation is about technology, yes, but also about aligning and enabling people, processes, and tech around a client’s strategic goals.
  4. Organizational alignment
    Before you start a project, make sure you’ve secured the right organizational alignment. Whether it’s departments, IT systems, or data, silos hinder business growth and ongoing improvement. Integrating systems, people, data, and processes, Borowski says, is the way to drive and optimize value across a client organization and support transformation. Everyone in the boat, including people and technology stacks, must row together in the same direction.

Benefits of Independent Project Management Consultants

Borowski knows from experience that in-house talent and resources frequently do not have the right skill sets to successfully drive a project to fruition. He believes that a blended team of in-house talent with on-demand expertise from independent project management consultants is the present and future of project management. 

Thanks to advances in technology and the mass adoption of work-from-home paradigms during the coronavirus pandemic, this type of model is easier to achieve than ever. 

“Remote project management and remote work is now a part of how we all work,” he says. “I’ve managed projects with remote teams across continents and time zones for the last twenty years. There’s more reliance (now) on contingent workers and independent contractors who can address temporary and continued shortages in resources as well as gaps in skill sets and expertise.”

How to Hire the Right Independent Project Management Consultant

Getting outside expertise into a project as early as possible is the best solution, one that can save you time and money down the road when challenges inevitably come, says Borowski. What kind of independent project management consultant should clients look for? 

“Hire consultants who have experience in both strategy and execution: they are the ones who will hit the ground running and add the most value,” says Borowski. 

The right consultant or consulting business can make all the difference. Borowski offers six other suggestions for hiring independent project management consultants:

  1. Be specific about the outcomes you seek to achieve.
    “You can’t do everything at once and then expect to focus like a laser on driving specific outcomes,” says Borowski. 
  2. Be candid about ongoing challenges.
    “Be open with the project management consultant about the elephants in the room, the issues that are hindering your ability to achieve goals and drive change.” You save time that way and enable the consultant to begin eliminating those obstacles. 
  3. Beware of “yes syndrome”.
    Don’t bring in a consultant to rubber-stamp your existing approach. Instead, find someone who will ask challenging questions and probe beyond the obvious to unlock real value with fresh approaches.
  4. Seek out a cultural fit
    “Look for a project management consultant who cares about the people involved in the project and who can connect with them by simplifying complex issues,” says Borowski.
  5. Consultants need customer-centricity.
    A great project management consultant, says Borowski, “should have a laser-like focus on what value means for your business and your customers. You need someone who will always translate your business needs into very specific use cases and look for the optimal experience for your end users and customers.” 
  6. Hire consultants who execute and deliver.
    Borowski is obsessed with “hands-on, outcome-driven project execution,” encouraging clients to “find someone who will go the extra mile, push through the finish line to deliver fast successes and measurable outcomes.”

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