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Leveraging PM Skills to Be a Consultant

written by: John P. Reiling • edited by: Tricia Goss • updated: 5/19/2017

Project management skills are broad and foundational. They can be leveraged in a wide variety of situations and in the private sector for-profit, non-profit, and public sector worlds.The consulting arena is a natural place for people with PM skills, for consulting is all about projects.

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    Project managers have a broad and deep skill base that can be applied in many situations. Let’s take a look at one of those situations: consulting.

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    Types of PM Consulting

    Here are forms that project management consulting might take:

    Leveraging PM Skills to Be a Consultant 

    • PM Consulting – Project management expertise is a salable skill. Since projects are temporary endeavors, it often makes sense for companies to outsource or hire a seasoned PM on a temporary basis. In either case, proficiency may be needed be in scheduling a complex project; setting up various systems to help manage the project; providing seasoned expertise in specific methods, including various agile methods, specific tools and techniques, portfolio management, project tracking systems, technical expertise on specific types of projects, and more.
    • Advising Businesses – Advising businesses tends to be a little more “touchy-feely" and typically does not have as much beef as described above. It is value-added just the same. From the business’s point of view, obtaining advice can potentially enable them to pinpoint precisely what they need and keep everything in-house. This will not usually be steady work so you will probably need multiple clients, juggling schedules and priorities accordingly.
    • Teaching – Most client companies want to develop their internal staff. In addition, most project implementations require change. This change – often cultural change – typically has an educational component. For example, changing the culture of an organization to allow them to embrace project management or agile best practices probably involves a cultural change. Project management education of client staff can help them to do that.
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    Can You See Yourself as a Consultant?

    If you are a project manager and want to move into a different career where you can leverage your hard-won PM skills, you need to be able to picture yourself in some sort of different role in the future. This article was geared to help you begin to develop a picture of what a career in consulting might look like for you.

    Can you picture yourself leveraging your PM and other skills in a consulting career? What sounds good about that and what does not?