PMI Belgium

Interview - How not to do an outsourcing data centre project

Title:                            How not to do an outsourcing data centre project

Interview with:            John Anonymous 😊  

Job Title:                    Senior Program Manager  

Interview by:                Frank Turley 

Date:                           Jan 2020


I recently met a person who was a project manager on an outsourcing project, and I asked him how it was going. After 30 seconds, I asked if I could interview him. 

What is the scope of the project?

My CEO decided to outsource its data centres, service desk, network and workplace management. He says: "even God outsourced the building of the Arc to Noah". Why not we?

Should we build and maintain our own data centres or let others run it to help manage costs and enable growth? By turning to managed hosting services, our CEO hopes to curb the capital and operational costs and help make the organization more agile to changing market scenarios.


2) Is there a clear project sponsor and how is he/she engaged?

The CEO is officially the sponsor of the project; however he has no experience in project management and does not see the need for a project charter, project management plan, no risk management, dependencies etc... Furthermore, there is no project buy-in from his own top management.

3) What is the project structure from a project management point of view?

Officially, there is a program manager, however he only works 1,5 days/w on this project, supported by 4 FTE, but 60% of their time is to resolve operational issues (= not project related).

crime scene

4) Is there a business case and is it shared?

There may have been a business case; however, this was not shared with the project team.

5) What about support for the people who may lose their job?  

No support is given to people who will lose their job. Therefore, the atmosphere in the project was very bad and these people did not feel like cooperating.

6) How is the project planned? What is the timeline?   

There is no real project plan; the main driver for the project new issues is coffee. 

7) How are issues handled?

On a day-by-day basis and it is chaotic.

8) How are project members supported?

There was no support for project managers, and they were just expected to work extra time and take on all the necessary responsibility.  Senior management was not sure what was going on, they were just following the decisions that were made at the very top. 

9) How are change requests handled?

Once a month there is a SteerCo, CRs are discussed at that time.

10) Why have you decided to leave the project?

Top management does not believe in proper project management practices (poor Project Management, project not decently staffed, not having a good WBS, poor planning, lack of competent resources, poor support from sponsor ...). This project can never be a success. 

11) Any final thoughts

Well, it was great to experience such a project as a freelance as I could leave at any time.   However, I am sure I would have ended up with a burn out if I had to stay on this project and I feel bad for the permanent employees who are still working on this project.  


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