Interesting article in a recent McKinsey Quarterly on the challenges faced by project managers running business transformation / turnaround programmes. These are usually internal appointees who have been plucked from their day jobs. All too often, however, these internal PMs are “. . . concerned about protecting their legacy, pursuing their next role, or tiptoeing around long-simmering internal political tensions.” For such reasons, internally appointed PMs have a tendency to play safe and shy away from pushing the CEO and top team to do the things that really need doing.
External project managers can be more objective and have fewer qualms about pressuring the bosses. They are not exposed to company politics. Project management is their specialism and they sell themselves on that basis, rather than on their knowledge of the internal culture, the very culture that a transformation programme aims to change!
Of course, the decision to go with an internal or an external PM will depend on many factors including cost, availability of qualified candidates, etc. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide which is best for your business.