I've heard many arguments in favour of PSLs – they provide visibility of future work and enable suppliers to recruit; they offer potential volume related savings; they reduce procurement overhead by removing the need to qualify numerous separate organisations – but what compromises are actually being made when seeking these potential benefits?
Something that is highly likely is that the resources supplied via a PSL won't be the best that the supplier has to offer. Many suppliers are reluctant to allocate their precious best resources to a client where there is a guarantee of future work, preferring to use those individuals to impress new and potential clients elsewhere and secure future pipelines of work?
Something else that is probable, unless your PSL includes a wide range of smaller specialist organisations, is that you are missing out on the mass of creativity, innovation and thought leadership that emanates from the smaller companies in the marketplace.
Finally, the types of organisations that dominate most PSLs for project management are typically large and well established consulting firms. Ask yourself, how hungry are these firms? How much does working for your organisation actually matter to them? For a smaller specialist firm like ArrowPM, every client is significant and important.
A PSL might feel like a route to cost savings and predictability, but the reality is often different. So, next time you have a need for an experienced project or programme manager, reach outside your PSL and tap into the specialism, creativity, hunger, energy and innovation that smaller specialist firms have to offer, things that your competitors may well be benefiting from right now.