Free Market PM Revisited: Spacehive as crowdfunding model

Free Market PM Revisited: Spacehive as crowdfunding model

In my previous post outlining the idea of a free market PM, I talk about the idea of an entrepreneurial PM who seeks out projects rather than jobs, since in reality we are all temporary employees who can get laid off at a moments notice.  So you might as well work as an independent contractor or consultant PM and “work to negotiate the best rate and bonus for delivering the project over and above what the customer expected”, as I wrote in my previous post.

The question then arises as to where such a model would work best for the independently minded free market PM?  An excellent real world example would be recent phenomenon and rise of crowdfunded projects.  Two of the most notable would be Kickstarter and Indiegogo.  The biggest, Kickstarter launched in 2009 has already funded $290m worth of projects as of present:

While crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter are more start-up focused, a site called Spacehive launched in 2011 is an online platform used to fund local neighborhood infrastructure projects.  The site was created apparently as reaction to the British government’s move to cut public spending by half.

Unlike the other more dynamic crowdfunding platforms and initiatives, Spacehive is driven by a more process oriented governance structure that should be familiar to the corporate project manager.  Each project initiated on Spacehive is required to have a project manager who is responsible for receiving and budgeting the funded monies and must ensure it is delivered on time and within budget.  Furthermore, the project owner/sponsor must also:

  • Ensure the competence and abilities of the project manager
  • Maintain a contingency fund
  • Secure official permissions
  • Demonstrate that the money requested is appropriate to deliver the project within scope and timelines

Sound familiar?  This should be familiar territory for the corporate project manager in a PMO, assuming of course that the PMO s/he belongs to has a cradle to grave project life-cycle management process.  In any event, this model provides a real world example of the kind of bidding and negotiating a project manager would have to do to get one of these high profile crowdfunded projects.  I can also envision the day when the majority of corporate projects are outsourced this way leaving it to the free market of PMs out there to compete, obtain and complete projects.  I would imagine the same would go for banding together the best team available who also compete and bid based on their competency.

This is really nothing new in that this is how movie projects in Hollywood have been delivered since the start of the movie industry.  It’s just that I just see this model propagating out to the rest of the industries and to the field of project management where it is most suited.

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