Interim Programme or Project Managers

The questions I am asked most about what I do are not about project management but about being an interim manager:

  1. Why would an organisation bring in an interim manager to run their project or programme?
  2. What’s the difference between an interim and a contractor?
  3. What’s the difference between an interim and a consultant?
  4. Isn’t it cheaper to employ someone properly?

My short answers are: expertise, objectives over attendance, stewardship not advice, no!

I hope the rest of this explains the answers. 

  1. Interim managers  are used on assignments that are probably a very urgent issue or specific task and are engaged on the understanding that goals and objectives are performed and delivered, and not simply attendance. Interim managers bring a fresh objective and expert view, get up to speed and deliver quickly. That suggests interim managers should be used on important projects where risk needs to be reduced.
  2. Interim Managers are very experienced, overqualified and could probably work at a number of levels above the assignment they are undertaking.  This seasoned experience makes them a safe pair of hands for short bursts of work to sort out problems they may have seen many times before. A contractor is probably working towards the peak of their career, has been a planned resource and will be filling a job role – perhaps simply as a temp.
  3. Some interim managers do consult as well (I do) but the main difference between an interim assignment and consultancy is accountability. A consultant will recommend and perhaps coach. An interim manager will be instrumental  in the successful delivery and will be a committed part of the management team to deliver that, often operating at or near board level.
  4. Interim managers are paid on day rates for simplicity. These figures may look large but remember that these include all the overheads that would have to be paid in addition for staff (company contributions towards pensions and taxes, training and equipment,  contracts and dismissal terms, etc) and you only pay an interim when you need them. So if you pay an interim £1000 per day, an equivalent member of staff will be costing somewhere between £1400 and £1800 per day.

 So, you see, interim managers have expertise, work to the objectives, are accountable, work to practical outcomes not simply give advice and are a better return on investment!


About 3triangles
Helping organisations make change happen in 3 key areas: strategic change, deliver tactical impacts, efficient and effective processes. All blog content (c) 2009 - 2012 Carol Long and Three Triangles Performance Ltd

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