In a Functional Service Provider (FSP) model, you as the sponsor has the option to assign your own project manager to the team or have your FSP provide the project manager and team lead to guide and oversee resources. Either way, management will receive continuous interaction and oversight, i.e. support, training, supervision, timeline management, budget management, and mentoring. In most cases, the teams are working in the client’s environment, however, the idea of having the work done in the FSP’s environment is not totally dismissed. In cases where the client needs help, the FSP will step in.
So how does a successful FSP deploy effective Project Management?
The Project Manager (PM) is the direct contact with the client. The key is that a professional, experienced, and competent project manager is in the chain of command and takes responsibility for all aspects of the work from resource allocation, to timeline management, budgeting, and quality control.
The job of the PM, as part of a successful FSP model, includes weekly meetings among internal team members. The PM then hosts weekly calls with the client to discuss high-level issues regarding staffing, timelines, budget, and any other project issues that may arise. The team communicates daily with their counterparts at the client when required.
The PM regularly produces documentation to track issues and concerns that can be reviewed and used for improvement in quality and efficiency. The PM can also draw upon the knowledge of Senior Management to help improve the process.
A strong FSP team will include, along with the PM(s), the appropriate number of Lead(s), and a team. The Leads manage the day-to-day workload of the team. Any technical or programming issues are escalated to the PM. At that point, the PM will assign the issue to one or more of the Leads based on background expertise and knowledge of the issue. All technical issues are reviewed at the weekly team meeting. If an issue has not been resolved, then a Principal Consultant (who is a senior staff member of the FPS) is asked to step in and help resolve the issue. The Lead is a backup function for the PM and as such manages specific tasks and deadlines for a subset of the team. They also function as part of the team performing day to day responsibilities. Leads are full-time on the team. The value that team leaders bring to the client is manifold.
Leads and PMs are technically trained, and have at least 10 years of experience, and are trained in the specific programs used and necessary for the guidance of the team. These leaders know the trade well that they are in and are the resources available to the team to help guide them to a successful and fulfilling experience in doing their job. The PM and Lead can help to improve the process by drawing upon past engagements with clients and using their knowledge and experiences.
The complete FSP model, with Project Management, Leads and resources, will allow for a total understanding of who is in charge of managing employees, performing quality checks, and aligning the tasks that need to be completed using employees’ individual strengths coupled with a cohesive team approach. All is done to ensure on-time delivery as well as staying within the budget.
The other roles involved in an effective FSP model include the Principal Consultant/Senior Management as mentioned earlier. This level of professionals would be assigned executive-level responsibilities over the project and are who the PMs can go to when they need another voice to help think through the challenges they can be faced with that are beyond the norm.
Navitas Data Sciences is a successful Functional Service Provider (FSP) offering data resources to the Pharmaceutical and Biotech industry for over 26 years. The data resources provided include Programmers, Data Managers, and Biostatisticians. Project Management and leadership roles are part of the offering and an integral part of the successful projects delivered to every customer of Navitas.