What are the three types of Interim Management assignment?

 
 
Figure 1: Process-data model for the change ma...
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According to Andrew Turner, a seasoned Interim Chief Executive, specializing in change management, business strategy and performance improvement, there are broadly three types of interim assignment:

* Resource-Driven

* Project-Driven

*Change/Solution – Driven

Andrew believes that the characteristics of each type of assignment are typically as follows:

* Resource-Driven: Need for temporary staff – low risk to client and sponsor – high price sensitivity

* Project-Driven: Management and skills for a defined contract – low/medium risk – high/medium price sensitivity

* Need for Change: Need for fresh ideas and solutions. – What the client buys – Solutions. Scarce and specialized expertise; someone to help resolve complex problems. Risk to decision maker – High. Risk to company – High. Price sensitivity – Low.

Andrew argues that both Resource and Project Driven assignments should NOT strictly fall under the banner of Interim Management. He believes that the first should be in the world of temporary staffing, and the second in the contracting arena. He reasons that neither have the decision-making independence of the true Interim Manager (at least at CEO/COO level), nor the ability to bring about change, other than in a far more circumscribed manner, ultimately controlled by the client, rather than the “interim”.

Traditionally, the professional interim has been seriously over-sized and could demonstrate that they had truly earned their T-shirt! In recent years, the boundaries between the professional interim, contractors and consultants have all become a little blurred. Top-end professionals and intermediaries have introduced terms like Executive Interim Manager, Interim Executive and Professional Interim Executive to provide necessary differentiation.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, as a Member of the Association of Professional Interims (MAPI), I am going to deploy some basic definitions agreed by the API.

1) What is an Interim Manager?

A Professional Interim Executive is a high impact external resource, usually operating at or near board level on a short-term basis, who utilises extensive proven experience to solve complex problems or deliver solutions to business critical issues fast. Professional Interims diagnose, design, deliver, embed the learning, and then disengage.

2) What do professional interim executives do?

a. Professional Interim Executives are usually deployed as a flexible strategic resourcing tool in organisations from large multinationals to small owner-managed companies.

b. They have a previous proven track record of success usually across a range of organisations or have been seconded across several areas of a large organisation. They are used in all sectors.

c. They are focused and hardworking and deliver results extremely quickly, usually far exceeding client expectations.

d. Almost every successful interim executive has previously been a successful permanent executive. They typically report directly to the senior management, the Board or shareholders.

f. They bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise – and no political baggage – ensuring they are exceptionally focused on delivering the agreed business goals.

g. They thrive on new challenges and immersing themselves in new situations and have a remarkable ability to adapt to different organisational cultures and win the trust and respect of their teams and colleagues.

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In separate article, we shall focus on the difference between professional interims and consultants.

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Finally, I would like to thank the Institute of Interim Management (IIM) for supporting an open debate which prompted Andrew to share the above conclusions. These conclusions are entirely Andrew’s and were neither provided nor necessarily supported by the IIM, nor other members of the debate.

In December 2009, I asked the question on the IIM LinkedIn forum: “How can we help the client and the professional interim match more effectively?”. Apart from myself, participants in the debate included: Ad van der Rest, Tony Evans, Katrina Shepherd, Les Ormonde, Martin Eley, Colin Mclean, Nigel Cole and Tom Pickering.

Why are Policy Makers, Execs, Strategists and OD-types all united about Traditional Project Management?

Project Management main phases

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Latest German research seriously questions traditional Project Management as defined in PMBOK and Prince2 type methodologies.

The research describes Traditional Project Management (PM1) as mechanistic and weak on addressing contextual complexity. It is argued that Project Management needs to address three critical areas:

1. Increased Complexity – a new management approach with the characteristics of a new paradigm

2. Globalization – fundamental, rapid, and radical changes in Society and Economy

3. Innovation – rapid growth in complex, new technologies in industrial and societal products

The research by Manfred Saynisch, distinguished both as a practitioner and a researcher is entitled “PM2 – Project Manager Second Order” and is part a research project entitled “Beyond Frontiers of Traditional Project Management”.

The research recognizes that Policy Makers, Execs., Strategists and OD – types are all uncomfortable with the limitations of Tradition Project Management (PM1), captured in PMBOK based on existing hard and soft methods. It is argued that it is based upon a mechanical, mono-causal, non-dynamic, linear structure and discrete view of human nature and societies, and their perceptions, knowledge and actions. It maintains that it works on the basis of reductionist thinking and on the Cartesian/Newtonian concept of causality (mechanistic science), and is unable to solve widespread and profound modern challenges which are not predictable in a continuous, stable linear sense.

The research looks for new insights and perceptions in natural and social sciences, based on evolutionary and chaos theory, self-organization, synergy, brain research, social systems theory and theory of complex systems.

The article summarises the history of PM-1 and academic literature underpinning PM-2. This leads to the introduction of a systemic architecture and process model for PM-2. This model adopts what is described as a series of Worlds. World 1 represents Traditional Project Management. World 2 embraces Complexity Management. World 3 considers Collaborators/Persons. Finally, World 4 captures what is described as Foundation Ways of Thinking. Sayisch goes on to explain and illustrate the World views with examples.

Project Management Practitioners who are able to relate to the conceptual material will find the four World views of interest. For sure, it will take a practitioner to be disciplined and to systematically view the project from the different perspectives.

In the author’s experience, the vast majority of project managers are practical, hands-on people, who are comfortable in the detail of day-to-day Traditional Project Management (PM1). Adding the three additional Worlds enormously complicates the subject and for practical people, PM-2 will be perhaps be a bit remote and abstract.

In its current form PM-2 is probably of more value to an academic audience than busy practitioners. However, the PM-2 approach is conceptually sound and it would be helpful if future research focused on operationalizing the concept, with templates, checklists and the other tools that the busy project manager is able to deploy on a daily basis. It would also be useful for practitioners to get a summary of the PM-1 literature, as well as PM-2.

To conclude, as an article in an academic journal, Saynisch has made a useful contribution to the literature. Practitioners will probably be less satisfied in not having clear tools to deploy in their next project.

Finally, Policy Makers, Execs, Strategists and OD-types will probably unite in their views of PM1 but will probably have to wait a bit to see PM2 in action.

Further details of the research are available by following the following link:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pmj.20167/abstract