Project Manager or Owners' Representative?

We usually call ourselves project managers as that is what we do; manage projects. However, almost all our projects require us not only to lead the installation of production lines or construction of manufacturing facilities, but also to manage all the services before, during and after the installation or construction.

These services take us through the whole project life cycle from initiating to closing. We support customers when they have identified a need to change their businesses, by helping them to develop a project charter, to define scope, to specify and procure equipment, to recruit and train employees and finally to commission and ramp up production.

Does that make us an Owners’ Representatives as well? We believe it does.

Each project can be made up of many different projects, depending on its complexity; we organise and co-ordinate the teams on behalf of the owners (our customers). For example, a new operations facility would include: steering group, schedule, building and external works, equipment, utilities, HSE, IT, finance, legal, HR, commissioning and handover. Almost all of the teams will be dealing with external organisations.

The teams are usually formed with the companies’ employees who will be affected by the change, again, increasing understanding of the project’s requirements and indeed ensuring employee ownership once the project is complete.

Whilst our project managers lead many of these teams it is not necessarily exclusively so. Some of the teams will be led by in-house experts. What is important is that our project managers are coordinating the teams and are involved in or know about their activities. That way they understand the customers’ requirements and are well placed to mitigate any risks and deliver the projects.

The circle is completed when we report back to the owners on the Steering Groups for the projects. They get a regular snapshot of how the projects are developing, awareness of risks and opportunities to make decisions on variations. This gives the owners confidence that the projects are being led and managed and sets expectations for the results of the projects.

We therefore represent the owners on the projects they contract us to do.

The key benefits are that our customers are getting professional project managers whose day job is to run projects, increasing the chances for the projects to be run optimally. This allows our customers to focus on their day jobs; to achieve their business plans and find more opportunities to increase profits.