The Benefits of Using an Accredited Consulting Organization
In September of 2010, SOMOS Consulting Group Ltd. became the first North American firm to be approved as an Accredited Consulting Organization (ACO). Achieving this accreditation demonstrates commitment and dedication to supporting successful implementation of best practice in portfolio, programme and project management using experts in specific disciplines.
In today's ever changing world, organizations are required to deliver change at a significant rate and as cost effectively as possible. Finding and implementing methods which can support the effective delivery of change can be time consuming and, in many cases, implementation is often by trial and error. Over the past few years a suite of best practice methods has been developed which supports the effective delivery of change through programmes and projects. These support organizations achieve success and deliver business benefits.
BEST PRACTICE METHODS IN DELIVERY OF CHANGE
The suite of guidance has been produced by the UK Cabinet Office (formerly the Office of Government Commerce). The Cabinet Office is responsible for promoting best practice in portfolio, programme and project management. These methods include Management of Portfolios (MoP™), Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®) and PRINCE2®. Use of these methods is now becoming common place throughout the world as they are being recognized for the value they bring to support successful delivery of change. Over the past few years more and more organizations have been delivering their projects and programmes utilizing these methods to ensure standardization and consistency in approach. However, where organizations attempt implementation this can often be ad-hoc, expensive, time consuming and delivered through trial and error.
CHALLENGES IN IMPLEMENTING BEST PRACTICE
While training in the method is usually recognized as a prerequisite for implementation, and will improve delivery skills at an individual level, there are a number of questions which are often raised by organizations as they consider implementation:
- How can our organization achieve implementation in, for example PRINCE2, as effectively as possible?
- How can we maximize the use of the method and ensure a consistent implementation across the organization?
- How do we tailor and embed the method to match the needs of our organization?
- How do we maximize our organization's opportunity for success and deliver the maximum benefit to our organization?
- Are there experts we can access who can support us in our implementation in a cost effective, timely way?
WHAT IS AN ACCREDITED CONSULTING ORGANIZATION (ACO)?
To support organizations in achieving successful implementation, APMG (the accreditation body for these best practice methods) has two things: Accredited Organizations and Registered Consultants.
Accreditation is a means of assessing the technical competence and integrity of organizations offering specific services, and brings benefits to stakeholder groups:
- Client organizations can reduce their risk by selecting accredited suppliers and can be confident that accredited products and services have been independently assessed to ensure consistent, high quality services.
- Accredited organizations have objective proof that they comply with best practice.
- Accredited individuals (consultants) can demonstrate recognition of their technical knowledge and experience.
- An ACO is an organization which has undergone assessment by APMG and demonstrates competence both in terms of its consulting capability and its consultants who have the recognized expertise to work with organizations to support implementation in best practice methods.
Registered Consultants, in addition to being practitioners in their specialized areas, have access to a range of tools which can support organizations in delivering maturity in their approach to implementing the required methods e.g.P3M3® Maturity Assessment and P2MM Maturity Assessment.
THE BENEFITS OF USING AN ACCREDITED CONSULTING ORGANIZATION
At a strategic level, many organizations have found that they are in need of external help, particularly with:
Change and strategy management.Becoming programme and project orientated for the first time. Managing strategic risks. External benchmarking and continuous improvement.
An ACO offers consultancy services in those areas where they can offer recognized expertise to support successful implementation and improvement. ACOs and their consultants operate to standards set by the accrediting body; this ensures high quality assignment delivery.
Alvin Gardiner is a programme and project manager with over 30 years' experience in the Public Sector including 15 years in general business management gained whilst working for Registers of Scotland Executive Agency (RoS). He holds an MBA from the Open University. He is an UKAS accredited PRINCE2 Practitioner and Trainer and is an MSP (Managing Successful Programmes) registered Practitioner. Alvin is also a registered PRINCE2 Consultant. Alvin has regularly spoken at Conferences on Programme/Project Management and Business Change with articles published in a number of Project Management Journals. He is a member of the Association for Project Management (MAPM), a member of the Institute of Management Consultants (MIMC) and a Certified Management Consultant (CMC).