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Not All Project Managers Are Created Equal

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If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in my career, it’s that professionals in the project management and consulting arena are not all created equal. Though titles and certifications may be the same, each individual’s skills and capabilities are definitely not.

As an example, a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) must have a certain amount of project experience and education, and must have passed the PMP exam to earn the right to put the PMP initials on their business card. The experience that comes from earning the PMP designation is valuable, of course. But, in and of itself, it is but a tool for oversight and facilitation. Truly impactful project managers (PM’s) bring additional expertise to the table.

Too often in my experience, I have seen projects, run by PMP’s, who do not have any meaningful business expertise beyond their project management qualifications. They may oversee the scheduling, monitor progress, track milestones and dependencies, and facilitate project meetings. In some cases, this skillset is sufficient and is all that is needed. However, in some of these situations, poor decisions have been made or opportunities for process improvement have been lost, because the project manager did not have the business and process understanding to recognize them. The result – a project outcome that fell short, or that accomplished only the minimum requirements but did not serve to advance the business as it should have.

An optimal outcome is the true value-add of a PMP with real world business experience and expertise. In project management, experience counts. This is especially true in technical projects that have major financial implications. By definition, these projects are staffed with technical resources. Requirements may have been collected from the Finance or Accounting department, and financial users may even be part of the project team. But, if the PM is one without the big-picture understanding of the business and the project’s financial implications, the risk of delay, failure, or lost opportunity is much greater.

Not all project managers, or PMP’s, are created equal. Each will have their own strengths and weaknesses. Some will have only administrative PM skills, or have minimal expertise outside of the project management arena. But, utilizing a PM with relevant business experience and expertise, as a complement to their project management skillset, will go a long way to ensuring an optimal project outcome.



Big or Small

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You’re a hiring manager/director/controller/executive for a project. You have a budget to work with. You have either a hard deliverable date or a timeline in mind. You want results.

Do you go ‘Big’? Or ‘Small’?

Do you reach out to one of the ‘Big’ project consulting firms? One of the Big 4? One of the major, publicly-traded consulting houses, whose ad you may have seen during last weekend’s golf or tennis


They will bring you name recognition. They will have experienced experts in-house…somewhere in-house. They will bring their best and brightest to the sales table to win your business. But, once they do, then what?

Too often, their less experienced (i.e. cheaper) assets are brought in to do the job. Perhaps, what you thought was ‘in scope’, based on a verbal promise from one of their crack sales people, is actually ‘out of scope’. What is the project going to cost now? And, do you actually have that leading-edge project team on the job, bringing the best practices, advising as to why a particular approach makes the most sense for you and your company?

Or maybe,

…you go ‘Small’. You engage a smaller consulting group. One led and staffed by seasoned professionals with real-world business experience, as controllers, financial managers, IT specialists, auditors – professionals who have deep experience in performing on projects like yours. And, professionals who have the business background and insight to not just ‘do’ the project, but understand the impacts and implications to your business. With their experience, they can bring a holistic view to the table, avoid pitfalls, and recommend improvements. They can perform smarter, ‘Smaller’.

How does that benefit you? It saves you money. It saves you time. It saves you headaches. It makes for a better result.

By going ‘Big’, you pay a high price. The ‘Big’ guys have a big infrastructure to support; their advertising budgets can be quite large (this may be why you know who they are). Some are publicly traded, and have challenging earnings targets to meet…every quarter. Is that in your best interest?

To service their high cost base, these firms charge high rates; sometimes, exorbitantly high rates. And, what do you receive for those high rates? Too often, their goal in performing your project is to assign some of their least experienced staff, their least expensive assets, in order to maximize their margin on the engagement.

By going ‘Small’, you get more. We maintain a small infrastructure and do not answer to outside shareholders or their earnings expectations. And, because we do not serve as a vast training mechanism for new college graduates, you receive service directly from experienced professionals. We will not charge a client to train inexperienced staff.

This means that our rates are more reasonable and equitable than the ‘Big’ guys. With each hour, you receive a higher level of service. And, that higher level of service translates into fewer hours and a better result.

‘Big’ or ‘Small’? The choice is clear.



Welcome to CSF Global!

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We are proud to introduce our company and our services. Our leadership and staff have been operating for several years now as CSF Global, Inc. Having developed a strong core team, with a number of engagement successes under our collective belt, we now are embarking on an expansion of our consulting practice. We will be utilizing what we’ve learned in our individual careers and our company’s engagements, to provide a superior service alternative to our clients and potential clients.

Whether you need support for an ERP system implementation, a business process improvement effort, a SOX compliance requirement, or to address specific accounting, finance, IT or other issues unique to your business, we believe that we offer the most qualified staff to ensure your success.

Our company is about service. We are focused on your success. Our approach is honest and direct. If we are not the right team to perform an engagement, we will say so. We will focus on delivery in as timely a manner as possible, with the highest quality possible.

We can assist in any size engagement, from one person, part time engagements, to long-term assessment, implementation or project management efforts.

Don’t hesitate to contact us with your inquiries; we look forward to hearing from you!