Posted by: Gilad Lev-Shamur | May 3, 2017

The 5 blocks model – Managing Projects in Service Organizations

Project managers in different organizations share tools, procedures and best known methods. The advancement we see in the project management profession in the last years, position the project manager as a specialist with a unique skill set and capabilities.

Nevertheless, different industries and organizations require specific modification of the common tools and procedures, to allow their organization to compete in the current environment. This post will suggest the basic model for managing projects in an internal service organization (Operation – construction, IT…). Future posts will give additional details on each subject.

Service organizations have several unique characteristic that any project model need to work with:

  • All customers are internal customers
  • Close and ongoing relationships (for long period) between the organization and the customers.
  • Technical knowledge on operation and maintenance that not always exist in regular projects teams
  • Imitated resources – part time PMs, not enough full-time PMs
  • Project control limitations when it comes to large projects
  • Internal conflicts when it comes to cost control – PMO: centralized or not?

A model that will include the service organizations characteristic and will enable proper project should include:

  • People skills
  • Structure – R&R, who report to who
  • Procedures
  • Network
  • Business model




If we are going one level down, the model should include these items:



  • Hybrid PMO- each organization need to create a hybrid PMO which include 1-2 professional project managers which will manage the more complex projects and in parallel will monitor other projects and train their project managers.
  • Mix of technical/ PM skills – PMs need to be with good technical skills relevant to the organization they are working with (operation, IT…). Project management knowledge is not enough for these kind of projects.
  • Flexible procedures – the PMO should have the possibility to change / adjust its project management procedures, templates per project scale, location,….
  • On going connection – the projects managers (PMO and full time) should maintain their connection with the customers even  between projects. These relationship  will enable to build trust and get early signs for new (and urgent requests).
  • Strategic partnership – due to the lack of resources in the majority of the organizations, an agreement with a strategic partner to outsource the majority of the project management tasks is the desired solution. Following this recommendation will enable the organization to focus on strategy and monitoring instead of tactical project managment.

This is a high level model which describe the necessary foundations for succesful management of projects in a service organization. Additional data will come in future posts.

Good luck!




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