Steering Your Consulting Project To Success
I found your firm’s approach to optimizing our operations to be refreshing, and extremely powerful in how it generates bottom-line results. The operations team now has new tools and reports to view productivity, cost, speed, service and quality in real-time, and the speed at which these tools were developed and rolled out was impressive.
– A FORTUNE 500 COMPANY
When leading their organization into a consulting engagement, it’s important for executives to realize that they play a key role in ensuring the project has a successful outcome. Hiring a firm with an established track record like Trindent is a large part of achieving the results you want to see, but it’s not the whole picture.
When it comes to our engagements, Trindent has built a strong and proven project methodology. But even with our solid approach, there are components that clients need to take the lead on to ensure the overall success of the engagement.
Here are 3 elements that clients should be mindful of when working with consultants.
Consultants need a physical location to have a base of operations. Without an assigned workspace, it becomes difficult to get focused, be creative, and become productive. Ideally, the workspace should also facilitate meetings, so that consultants don’t needlessly spend time moving around with every client team and stakeholder meeting that’s planned.
Stress-free communication is the second piece of the logistics puzzle. When working onsite, consultants need to quickly be able to book meetings, set up process observations, host agile think tank session to generate ideas, develop process changes, and present to management. For this, Trident recommends clients set up an internal email address for their consultants, giving them visibility to schedules and enabling them to easily book time with client teams. Alternately, if the client has enough resources, having an administrative support person made available to the consulting team is an excellent way to facilitate scheduling.
The last important part of logistics is access to data. Access to data is imperative as it gives consultants ability to quickly and efficiently perform required analysis. Lack of proper access to data can quickly become a bottleneck in project delivery. The optimal set up Trindent recommends is give consultants access to retrieve the data on an internal computer, instead of asking them to rely on making requests and waiting for data to be brought to them.
Each engagement has a project plan that outlines its scope. Following the project plan is key to preventing deviation from final project objectives. Here, the client can either become the roadblock to smooth execution, or its protector.
“Scope-creep” commonly occurs when too many secondary ideas are spawned from the initial primary project outline. As the secondary ideas begin to add up and divergence from the original project plan becomes recurring, the time and effort spent on out-of-scope work leads to an increasing amount of lost time. Missed deadlines and project delays are the inevitable result of a client’s inability to control that scope-creep.
Resource allocation is another key aspect of execution that consultant rely on the client to deliver. Required client resources are agreed to and are built into the project plan before consultants are deployed. If those resources are not provided as promised, it poses a threat to project success as work must be redistributed on the fly, or timelines must be pushed out.
Client resources must also be the right ones. Project success relies on the assignment of resources who are strong performers rather than poor ones, so assigning the right talent becomes extremely important.
In any organization, it’s important for change to start at the top. When it comes to project success, executives need to set the tone early and lead by example.
During Trindent engagements, recurring update meetings are attended by project sponsors as a way of instilling their leadership team with confidence in the work. In the absence of the sponsor’s ongoing participation, organizational buy-in falters, and company leaders become loath to make necessary decisions or provide support when its most needed.
Simply signing off on the project launch is not enough to guarantee the success of the project. It requires effort to get and maintain buy-in from an organization’s leadership team and staff. By actively ensuring that variables within your control – logistics, communication, participation – are met, you have the power to steer the project to a successful conclusion.