As a free-lance product manager, I work with 3 clients. I use the word “freelance” since they pay me as a contractor and not a full-time employee. Companies I work with range in size from 10 to 50 people. I’m assisted by a part-time BA. Intending to make this a product management firm, I considered cold emailing businesses that have product management job openings on LinkedIn.
So that it would be just the BA, me, and the new PM, I would hire a full-time product manager.
Do you guys believe the service I’m providing would be worthwhile? We can get started right away because the client will have a PM for them. The client will pay for one PM, but we also have a BA in the background, thus the client can use the BA as well because we have scalability. They don’t need to spend time screening candidates because we can provide a PM or PO for them.
Would the hiring managers at your companies work with a product management firm? What are the benefits and drawbacks? I may have forgotten viewpoints even if I have noted cons in my notebook.
Never seen a contracted C suite executive except in very small companies where they’re really hiring s glorified bookkeeper as their CFO because they haven’t sorted their accounts before end of tax year.
I can provide a list of potential pros and cons of hiring a product management agency to help you make an informed decision:
Access to specialized expertise: A product management agency usually has a team of experienced professionals who have worked on various product development projects. They can bring valuable insights and experience to your project, which can help you create better products.
Flexibility: A product management agency can offer flexible solutions depending on your business needs. You can hire them for a specific project or task, and once it’s completed, you can end the engagement without any obligations.
Cost-effective: Hiring a product management agency can be more cost-effective than hiring a full-time product manager or building an in-house product management team. You can save on overhead costs such as salaries, benefits, and training.
Faster time to market: With the expertise of a product management agency, you can speed up the product development process and get your product to market faster.
Lack of company-specific knowledge: A product management agency may not have a deep understanding of your company’s culture, vision, and goals. It may take them some time to get familiar with your business and develop a customized approach.
Communication issues: Communication can be a challenge when working with an external agency. You need to make sure that you have a clear understanding of the project scope, timeline, and deliverables to avoid misunderstandings.
Lack of control: When working with an external agency, you may have less control over the product development process. You need to trust their expertise and let them manage the project according to their own methodology.
Dependency: If you rely too much on a product management agency, you may find it difficult to bring product management expertise in-house in the future. This can limit your ability to grow and scale your business.
Ultimately, the decision to hire a product management agency depends on your specific business needs and goals. It’s essential to evaluate the pros and cons and weigh them against your objectives before making a decision.
PM’s can definitely be contracted out, without a doubt; outside consulting is fairly prevalent. I am a full-time employee of a large corporation where contractual hiring is constantly done for specializations.
I also hire myself out as a PM (to smaller, startup companies) when they cannot afford to hire someone full-time long-term or are not actively searching to hire.
@TerryAnthony, given that I work with many of them, the client is ultimately responsible for decisions, even if they are supported by research conducted by consultants. This is almost always the case, with the exception of a few rare instances in which there is a long-standing, positive relationship between the two parties.
I will say yes or no. Yeah, I would hire someone who has the same skill set as a PM. No, I wouldn’t work with someone who represents themselves as a PM for my business. In my opinion, a PM role is more connected with the business than a contractor position is. I wouldn’t trust someone who wasn’t “in” my firm with relationships with stakeholders that they create because they are so important to the success of the product. However. I can imagine a scenario in which you might work with someone in a small business as a consultant to mentor them in product management — sort of like a consultancy where you’re sort of preparing someone to operate in that capacity with the interests of the business as the goal.
Sure! Good luck. And for what it’s worth - I say is as a pm so my opinions is entirely built and the value I see in myself to my company and how much I am personally invested in that success. I can see a lot of opportunity for offering pm services on contract, esp for very small companies that do not have a full pm in the budget.
Data secrets such as company revenue, market research, etc. are typically restricted from being shown to contractors. I can’t even show budget info to most of our contractors.
PMs that can’t get fired for doing a bad job and it actually matters, sounds insane. And I say real fired because if you have 5 clients and one drops you move on.
A ton of PM is building equity with other teams and co-workers, so they help you out even if their goals don’t perfectly align. There is no way to build this equity with a contractor you know is going to leave. It’s like voting for someone you know is going to die on an x date.
We have enough trouble getting our contracted dev teams to deliver on actual hard coded deliverables. Most of pm work is soft skill and not measurable.
I think what you are looking for is a consulting gig where you help with market validation, budget, and maybe hiring but hand over to an employee has to happen otherwise the companies would be insane to put the future of their company in the hands of a contractor.
There is a reason small companies offer equity to its staff that is intrinsically motivated by the success of the company.
Same idea of running a PM agency as my spouse is also a PM/BA. I asked this question twice in different ways and the “general” answer was “no.” This, however, didn’t mean that there wasn’t a market for it, but it was a rather small, highly specific market of companies who would contract out a PM.
Companies that need a “quick fix” filling a PM gap in their organization. They would contract this out to keep things moving along while they find a permanent hire.
Companies who have a weak PM discipline and looking for a very seasoned PM to provide mentoring, structure, process, etc. until they become self-sufficient.
Companies whose existing PM is overwhelmed due to the size of the product or a strategic initiative with a very short timeframe. A contract PM would be an executive assistant to this PM who can take on some tasks and deliver under the signoff of the primary PM.
Companies who don’t know what a PM does so they hire a PM to be a Project Manager, Product Owner, Scrum Master, etc. … anything but a PM.
Companies that are on a quest to outsource everything on a race to the bottom thanks to management consultants.
Personally, my entire PM career have been about jumping into new products every 12 months to help “save” that product from being discontinued. I come in to give it “one last chance” to stay on the portfolio and it usually takes me “at least” 6 months to get a handle on the product, users, stakeholders, market opportunity, etc. So if you find a client needing a PM, chances are you will have a contract for at least 12-18 months.
On the other hand, I also wanted to entertain the idea of a PM on Demand as a subscription service. The idea here is for companies too small or doesn’t need a “full time” PM. So they can pay a subscription fee cheaper than an FTE hire, but gives them “access” to a PM resource on-demand … plus other specialties like BA, Project Manager, Technical Writer, PO, Scrum Master, etc.
Never took this further. Still noodling over it. I personally prefer salvaging products than running new ones.