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Our organization is a matrix organization with very little power in PM hands. PM themselves are subject matter experts who share PM roles on one projects with delivery on others. We recently started having one group of sales people interfering into the project management process. for example, they try to schedule meetings without confirming it or informing the assigned PM. The latest news is: they are selling the project, and saying to the client that an account manager will perform the project management, so the project will be "cheaper". I do not get the "cheaper" logic, but I try to find information on why it is a very bad idea. We are not a mature organization, where everything is established and roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, so this kind of situations are hard to argue with, after it was "sold" this way. I will appreciate any advice or point into a right direction on who should be doing what and why in PM- sales person interaction. Thank you!

  • The project might be "cheaper" without any project managers, but it might cost more due to bad management. – Amir Syafrudin Jan 19 '17 at 11:19
  • The answer is organization dependent. The problem isn't that sales people are trying to be project managers, it is that multiple people are trying to be project managers. If project management is to be effective, the project manager must manage sponsor expectations. Two PM's can do that only if they coordinate actions. – Mark C. Wallace Jan 19 '17 at 11:24
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I do not get the "cheaper" logic, but I try to find information on why it is a very bad idea.

The "cheaper" logic is obvious: if you need no PM, you don't need to pay a PM and the project will be cheaper.

It's a bad idea because managing a project is a job. It's not something you take on as a hobby after hours in your sales job. That's not exactly unique to project management. Every job worth doing is worth doing properly.

But this is a management thing. Your company needs to set guidelines how projects are done. Does every project need a PM? Only your company can decide that.

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  • Hi, in terms of "cheaper" I do not understand how not including this into the project cost equals good sale. Also this is a rather big project which will require a lot of time to manage, what will most likely end up happening is sales person asking for help from who was supposed to be a PM because they can't talk the same language (technical stuff) and do not have time to figure out what is going on. – Lena Jan 19 '17 at 14:23
  • In our company there are not real guidelines on this, and if any rule get accepted "verbally" (on some meeting they decide, sales should not do that), after 2 weeks no one cares about it. I talked to my manager, but my manager said the only thing we can do is try writing down these guidelines, and try them to be approved. That will require time and level of expertise we might not have. Management higher up usually do not do anything like that. – Lena Jan 19 '17 at 14:27
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Your company is going through the maturity process and is valuing sales more than delivery. Eventually, your company will have to face its delivery metrics and likely losses and you will have the data you need to sponsor a change.

Keep promoting your ideas but expect little progress for now.

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  • Thank you. I am trying to do my best to make things better, but I have very little power to do so. – Lena Jan 19 '17 at 14:34
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Roles and responsibilities exist in organization regardless of its maturity level. Different games have different rules, but each game has its rules. What you encounter now is someone breaking the rules. What do you do when you see someone breaking the rules? You call the police or, speaking of company affairs, your boss. I assume that you are not a department manager (the one who actually can change the rules).

Express the situation to your manager in open and judgement-free manner. Tell about your assumptions who is responsible for what. Explain specific cases which contradicts with your assumptions. Ask to provide resolutions for each (do not make any proposals if you are emotional about the topic). If your activities depend on those resolutions - mention that you have to stop corresponding tasks until then.

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  • well, previously I addressed this with my manager, and there was a discussion on the 1 step above me level about how we should interact and realization that there is no guidelines. The sales person who was scheduling my meetings was asked not to do so. 2 month later he is going it again. The guidelines and rules will be very helpful, but there is nothing written down. – Lena Jan 19 '17 at 14:32
  • @Lena if they are not written does not mean that they do not exist, there is a status quo. If it happened again - tell your manager again. There are options - you either took responsibility for resolving the conflict or pass it to the person who is responsible now. All in all your manager is getting paid for such things, you are not. – Vlad Jan 19 '17 at 14:36

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