Why MSPs Should Embrace Project Management

Seize New MSP Opportunities with Adaptive Project Management

5-Jun 2019

First automation, and now the cloud has changed how managed service provider's (MSP) work, enabling you to get out from the mundane and explore new, high-value services that you can offer your clients.

With your technical and business knowledge, you're well placed to seizing the opportunity to become the trusted advisor for your clients, but this means changing how you work - embracing project management and consulting, rather than relying on service contracts and tickets.

You're able to go beyond the server closet, utilizing your skills to provide expert advice and strategize compelling project plans from the discovery of needs, developing strategies, and implementing new technology. Put yourself in the best position - to work with your clients on a recurring basis, helping them transition into the future of MSP.

Unfortunately, there's no way around it - in the new MSP era, you need to (re)build your project and consulting skills. As many know, there are two popular methods for managing projects - waterfall and agile. The waterfall method rightly comes in for regular criticism, but if you go full agile and do value-based pricing, you could find your business at risk.

To help you make the right decision, here are more details about the two common approaches, along with a new, third way!

Waterfall Project Management (The Traditional Approach)

The more rigid of the two, it's fueled by requirements, firm and distinct stages, and you're likely to use features such as Gantt charts, milestones, tasks with dependencies, assign budgets, resources and timelines for your delivery.

This approach best works when you're project planning, but it does not adapt to changes that well. So, as your MSP grows and strategizes for an array of clients, a problem you'll see is that none of your clients or the projects will ever be perfectly the same scenario, meaning not everything will go according to plan. There needs to be some wiggle room and flexibility from the getgo of each project. You also don't want to resort to having to manually make adjustments to the plan. As we all know, when plans to constantly change - it's likely that your team will have a harder time following and doing their part, making it more difficult to fulfill a successful project.

Agile Project Management (The Flexible Approach)

Of the two, agile is definitely the approach that encourages you to manage the project from the present reality, with flexibility and agility. From the jumpstart, everyone knows that the plan will probably change at some point, so there's no need to solidify all the details permanently.

This may seem like the obvious way to go - especially given the variable nature of all client projects, and the reality that not everything will ever go exactly to plan. But, going full agile could leave your project in a catastrophic economic state from a commercial point of view.

With more businesses pursuing value-based pricing (such as fixed pricing or a firm estimate) the lack of planning from a financial point of view can be destructive to your business. With your income fixed or firm, but your costs taking on an agile, variable model, you pose the risk.

Adaptive Project Management (The Third Way)

Instead of loyally supporting one methodology, pull the pros from each one. Oversee your milestones and budget allocations in your project like waterfall, but be agile about the work you're doing in the project.

Accelo has helped thousands of businesses focus on an adaptive project management approach. The best practice starts from setting up high-level milestones with budgets and expected timelines, treating them as you would an envelope for the work you and your team accomplish. This makes for financial discipline, and with real-time reporting and alerts when things go outside of the envelopes, no matter how thinly spread you are, you're able to see when something needs to be changed before it turns into a larger issue.

The Beta Feature allows users to pause projects, tasks, and milestones, as well as hide project tasks from team's schedules, making it easy on everyone to adapt to the changes and hold off until you're ready to continue.

Empower your team to do the work, giving them the ability to create their own tasks within the envelopes of the project plan. Allowing them to create tasks, re-estimate time remaining whenever they log hours and adjust the expected timelines given their personal client knowledge, the people doing the work get the pros of an agile experience and the business benefits by understanding what's really happening. This helps fight MSP employee burnout and promotes trust between the team and the reliability of the project management system.

Try Accelo today to see how your MSP can leverage the best of both waterfall and agile to pursue adaptive project management opportunities: try it today by signing up for a trial!

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