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In-House Project Managers vs. External: Pros and Cons

Published By Team AdaptiveWork

Though there is something to be said about the ability to wear multiple hats in the workplace, some things are really best left to the experts. This is the logic behind the outsourcing of all kinds of work, from digital marketing to – yes – project management. But sometimes it’s hard to identify exactly which roles would benefit from an outsourcing business model and what should remain in-house.

There is a lot to be said for in-house project management vs. external project managers. Sometimes hiring a consultant may make more sense depending on the project scope and resources. So how do you know if you need a temporary handyman or a permanent company fixture? The following are some simple pros and cons to understanding what project management style works best for your business:

Internal Project Management

In-house project management is incredibly efficient for a variety of reasons. Key team players are on-site and available for queries at every step of the way, and because they are already embedded “in the field,” they can bring both institutional knowledge and industry expertise to the table. The following are some positive and negative effects of using an in-house project manager:



  • Vendor dependency
  • Stifling competitive advantage
  • Risk and access to company culture

Project management consulting is generally more effective with companies that still lack a defined brand. If your company culture is already well established, it may be difficult to introduce a big player like a project management consultant on a merely temporary basis.

Instead, it may be more advisable to use a PM with both sufficient institutional knowledge and understanding of your brand and company culture. While this may be more expensive, it can make relationships smoother in the long run, not to mention accelerate project kick-offs by making onboarding faster or even unnecessary.

External Project Management

Project management consulting is not only about knowing your client to a “T.” Project management consulting is about spending the time to understand brand identity, then presenting a professional solution informed by the experience of someone who lives, breathes, and eats project management. Just because a company insider knows everything there is to know about the product or brand, it doesn’t mean they have what it takes to complete certain kinds of projects on time and within the appropriate scope and budget. That’s where a seasoned external PM can come in handy.

The following are some positives and negatives to external project management:


  • Objectivity and separation of culture applications
  • Outsourcing costs far less than keeping a PM in-house
  • Fresh outlook on marketing strategies
  • Flexibility and access to resources
  • Technical focus on advancing project skills


  • Little to no knowledge of branding
  • More barriers to communication
  • Difficulty in establishing leadership
  • Barriers in access to proprietary information
  • Absence of relationships or company morale

Many companies fear hiring external project managers because they’re hesitant to give a consultant access to proprietary information. However, the sharing of information is essential to getting the job done. In order for a person to walk in and control a project, they need to have a genuine understanding  of the surrounding community issues and complaints. In the end, a PM worth their salt should be someone you trust enough to treat your product, service, brand, or company wellbeing as though it were their own.

The benefits of outsourcing project management can be incredibly advantageous if it is the right fit for the company. Younger companies and smaller offices typically perform better with outsourcing than older, established organizations. When it comes to deciding, experience is critical. However, if you choose a project manager with great proficiency in your trade, where they put their desk won’t matter so much.

Want to stay up-to-date on the latest project management tips and trends? Planview AdaptiveWork’s resources have you covered. Continue exploring our blog today.


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Written by Team AdaptiveWork