The number one concern for any company collaborating with a consulting partner to transform their business is money – and for good reason. Business process transformation services can get expensive fast, which is why we want to arm you with guidelines on how to combat the potential for budget overages while helping your consulting team implement the solution that best meets your needs in the process.
…in every sense of the word. If your consulting partner has assigned prep work for your internal teams to complete before a meeting, then it’s your duty to abide by proper project etiquette and do your due diligence to tie up loose ends to the best of your ability before the meeting time. A typical transformation project will call for your team to deliberate over and evaluate your general business processes, so it’s important that you understand your current operational state and how that relates to what you want your future workflows to look like. In order to ensure you aren’t exceeding project budget, reach internal team consensus off of your consultant’s clock. Anytime that clock is on, you’re getting billed.
It’s up to you and your internal team members to nominate and designate project leads and assign those project leads to the appropriate consultant-facing meetings. This is critical in your efforts to avoid redundant conversations. When there’s an invoice attached to meeting times and discussion lengths, the same point or issue shouldn’t be brought up more than once, unless there’s a unique and relevant chain of thought that wasn’t brought up in previous meetings. If the right people are in the right meeting the first time around, you’ll have more opportunity to stay on track with project timelines and ensure you’re not breaking the bank along the way.
If you enter into a contractual agreement with a consulting partner, you’ll likely do so through a statement of work (SOW). An SOW is documentation that defines a project’s scope, including deliverables, timelines, goals and other activities as they relate to your consulting partner’s promised service provisions. Consulting firms rely on SOWs for resource planning and allocation. To remain respectful of your relationship with them, and to keep project scope, deadlines and billable hours top of mind, it’s critical for you and all other contributing team members to be well acquainted with the details of the SOW.
This tip sounds like common sense at first glance, but take our word for it – consultants will always prefer email as a primary method of communication. Compared to a conference call or Zoom video meeting, email is cheaper, has electronically referenceable written text, enables teams to easily establish relevance to the current state of the project and allows them to quickly label your project feedback and/or questions as part of an immediate project phase or future project phase. If you’re looking to cut down project cost, use email whenever feasible.
Let’s shift gears away from what you can do to make sure your project stays under budget, and recognize what a (good) consulting partner will be doing to do the same. There’s a reason the business transformation industry has coined the term “consulting partner.” The work done alongside your consulting partner is a collaboration and cannot be completed without industry and market expertise from the client, as well as process management and technological expertise from the consultant. It’s key for you to remember the behind the scenes tasks your consulting partner will be paying close attention to in order to make sure your money is being spent according to contract.
Discovery Sessions are Held to Set Realistic Budgets from the Get-Go
Kicking off the discovery phase of any consulting project, whether this is or isn’t your organization’s first transformation rodeo, is used to evaluate the current state of your business and comb through details on what investment size is needed to procure a solution that meets your needs. Your consulting partner will become fully focused on defining your roles, responsibilities and greater organizational structure, establishing black and white modes of communication and prompting your mentality to embrace change for optimal levels of user adoption. At this stage, your consulting team’s time and energy are being channeled in a way that ensures the full scope of the project is completed efficiently and on-budget.
A Project Manager’s Sole Purpose is to Monitor Scope Creep & Keep the Project Rails from Running Off the Track
Remember that Project Managers are getting paid to manage project scope and budget throughout all aspects of the project including getting started, discovery, solution design and go-live. Their position involves assigning responsibilities, setting and managing deadlines, monitoring and summarizing project progress and preparing reports that accurately reflect project status. An effective project manager will also be responsible for administering and streamlining cross-departmental project involvement as needed so that all components are compatible and in alignment. PMs are the playmakers of financial tracking transparency so they will be your go-to resource on overall project flow and project budget standings.
Consultants are Experts in Meeting Management
Keep in mind that consultants are trained in the art of facilitation and typically lean on a healthy mix of tools and techniques to ensure meeting objectives are always met and the conversation never strays off track. They are the shepherds of reinforcing relevancy for all billable interactions, with the intent of helping you achieve the desired outcome at the investment amount you agreed upon.
Want more details on how the project billing process works or simply want to talk transformation? Connect with one of our consulting experts today to discuss your options.
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