PS Pulse Articles

8 Key Steps to Establishing a Customer Success Team

Author thumbnail

Earlier this year, I was approached to establish a team devoted to tracking and managing retention and renewals from a Professional Services perspective. When this was originally pitched to me, I thought that I was going to be responsible for all the trouble accounts that were at risk, meaning that every day was going to be a battle and I would miss out on the post-contract signature aftergl ...Read More

Blending Product Management and Project Management to Deliver Better Software Development Outcomes

Author thumbnail

In most professional services delivery organizations, at least the ones that do project work, people and teams are trained to “manage projects”.  We bid on projects as distinct pieces of work that involve timelines, scope, budgets and resources. Then we tirelessly manage those projects focusing on dates, expectations management, change management, project margins, realized r ...Read More

The Best Kept Services Secret: "You Are In Sales"

Author thumbnail

I still remember my favorite line from one of the guest speakers at my company's last Practice Training Meeting. Addressing a crowd of a few hundred services professionals, the speaker started with the usual jibe about being thankful for not having sales people in the room, before more seriously adding "let me break it to you…you are in sales". He used the line to emphas ...Read More

A Professional Services Revenue Recognition Primer: What Every PS Leader Needs to Know

Author thumbnail

Anyone working in the professional services (PS) and consulting world understands how difficult it is to close a deal and successfully deliver on it. Countless hours (and dollars) go into finding prospects, educating them on the value you bring, instilling confidence and convincing them that you and your expertise can help them achieve their goals faster and more effectively than without you ...Read More

Analytics for Professional Services – Why You Should be Paying Attention

Author thumbnail

Analytics and Big Data Momentum is increasing Over the last 2 years, Analytics has taken the business world by storm, and it has become one of the most visible areas in technology transformation as evidenced in part by the growing amount of press and attention it receives. When I Googled the word analytics the other day it returned 166 Million results. There was a lot of talk last year that ...Read More

Going Beyond PSA – Holistically Managing Multiple Service Lines

Author thumbnail

It is not uncommon for today’s services organization to oversee multiple lines of business within their organization. In an IT services, or embedded services organization within a software company for instance, a services leader may be responsible for the consulting practice, a field services team, customer support, education, training and in a SaaS-based business model – managed ...Read More

4 Ways to Succeed with Selling Professional Services

Author thumbnail

There’s no denying it: the world of selling professional services has changed. What worked just a decade ago is no longer producing the same results. At the same time, the Harvard Business Review has published articles titled “The End of Solution Sales” and “Selling is Not About Relationships.” As a professional services seller, solutions and relationships ar ...Read More

10 Critical Mistakes Consultants Make with Clients

Author thumbnail

Through our “Power of Partnership” methodology we’ve trained and coached Professional Services groups in giant companies like HP, Bell Canada and Accenture, and in fast-growing software startups. Surprisingly, PS client-facing problems look pretty much the same everywhere. Here are ten common mistakes consultants make with their clients: 1. Giving total responsibility ...Read More

7 Tips for Creating a 360 Degree View of Your Project Operations

Author thumbnail

I have asked myself the following question countless times over the last 20 years. Why is it still impossible to find an end-to-end PSA solution that meets the needs of the business, operations and, most significantly, the project managers? The reason why I place such a heavy emphasis on ease of use and functionality for project managers is that they are the ones that are the day-to-day shep ...Read More

Staffing Your PSO - The Pros and Cons of Just-in-Time Hiring

Author thumbnail

For most PSO’s, the cost of talent is the biggest number in any P&L analysis. Even with the economy finally showing steady improvement, most Execs are still leery of overhiring.  They are looking instead for creative ways to get the work done.  One of these methods is Just-in-Time hiring.  JIT is the process of hiring after a financial commitment has been made by the ...Read More

A Data Quality Handbook for Delivering Successful Professional Services Engagements

Author thumbnail

This article contains an initial "data quality handbook" drawn from enterprise Data Integration (DI) engagements over the past decade - with input from recent events involving Big Data and Cloud solutions. It would be unfair to frame this as a methodology, instead it is a starting point to frame realistic PS data quality offerings.   Some trends in Data Integration fade some ...Read More

Best Practices for Integrating Professional Services Groups

Author thumbnail

Recently I posed a question to the PSVillage Forums about best practices for integrating PS groups acquired through corporate M&A activity. A couple of years back several PSVillage members collaborated on an excellent do-diligence checklist for PS groups. But my question had more to do with what happens after the deal is done and you find yourself with a new team of people who have diffe ...Read More

Reducing the Sales Cycle with Professional Services

Author thumbnail

My colleague, who runs our sales organization, always says “Sales keeps the lights on, mate” to which I always reply “….and delivery makes sure they stay on.” In most consulting organizations, sales and professional services (PS) are mutually dependent: PS needs a strong sales team in order to have engagements to deliver while a sales team is as good as the ser ...Read More

Establishing a Quality Culture within PSO's and Software Development Organizations

Author thumbnail

Trends such as cloud based software delivery and emphasis on uptime create even greater demands on software quality. Independent software vendors (ISVs) and software-enabled businesses must forego their usual pre-release quality control approaches and instill quality principles into every aspect of product development, from whiteboard to long term maintenance. Users no longer accept the trad ...Read More

4 Tenets for Building a Flexible, Efficient Services Management Framework

Author thumbnail

More than ever, I encourage services partners to avoid “hard and fast” PS packages that leave the client with sudden surprises -- at very inopportune times.  A stronger approach for efficient, customer-driven PS is one where flexibility is “built in” to a PS solution package.  Part of that flexibility involves shared responsibility with the client from Day O ...Read More

Project Staffing Pitfalls and Solutions

Author thumbnail

A word of caution to the idle reader:  I’m about to say something that no executive should put in writing.  I’m going to communicate what many in Professional Services know is the truth…..but don’t have the intestinal fortitude to publish.  I’m going to say what no CEO wants to hear.   Read More

5 Tips for Developing your PSO Team into Trusted Advisors

Author thumbnail

What does Professional Services (PS) do to contribute to the growth and future vision of a company – to add to the competitive edge? There’s more to the PS role than making our software hum for our clients, right? We’re aiming for a long-term relationship with the client and the consultant has a unique position at the table. The PS team within a software company prides i ...Read More

Offshore, Nearshore, Jersey Shore? How To Select The Right “Shore” Partners

Author thumbnail

While working for a smaller software company presents many challenges across the board, it also provides some advantages running a Professional Services organization. We face very little competition for our work and in general, minimal rate pressure, because the worldwide ecosystem of resources trained on our technology is almost non-existent. Having said that, when working with our customer ...Read More

5 Tactics to Overcome the Complexities of a Rapidly Growing PSO

Author thumbnail

A freelance solo consultant deals with very little complexity in his or her business. Every hour billed leads to revenue, so a consultant lucky enough to bill $200 an hour for 20 billable hours a week is bringing in $4,000 a week, or $200,000 a year, while still enjoying two weeks of hard-earned vacation. And the consultant gets to pass through all client-related expenses straight to the cli ...Read More

6 Essentials to Achieve Rapid Results in a Complex Global PSA Implementation

Author thumbnail

Deploying a PSA solution in a multi-national, cross-functional environment can be very challenging, resource intensive, and risky.  For some organizations, these challenges and risks prevent them from undertaking the initiative and they don’t seize an opportunity to build greater global synergies, automate processes, and drive performance improvements.  Others may move forwar ...Read More

Set Your Customer Up For Success!

Author thumbnail

In a recent PSVillage article, "7 Keys to PS Value: A Client-Side Perspective" we got to see the professional services experience from the customer perspective, and how you, the provider, can align your tactics with the client’s needs.  This month we're going to stay on that topic, but from a slightly different perspective... Everyone knows the customer is always ...Read More

Accelerating Service Time-to-Market

Author thumbnail

Time-to-market is just as important for services as it is for products. This is especially true if the service eco-system needs to scale rapidly to support new product adoption. This article discusses how a dedicated Services Portfolio Management Role can dramatically increase product and service adoption rates. Symptoms of the need for services portfolio management:Read More

Preparing for Professional Services Market Growth: Six Tips to Optimize Resources and Processes

Author thumbnail

The services economy is picking up and set to have a strong 2013. Surveys show that leading indicators in 2012 have grown, including annual revenue growth, size of deal pipeline, and percentage of revenue in backlog. In fact, many research organizations confirm that the services market has recovered from the 2008 downturn, while the current growth will continue. With growth, whether regio ...Read More

7 Keys to PS Value: A Client-Side Perspective

Author thumbnail

Today, professional services teams must help clients do more with less—less staff, smaller budgets and fewer resources in general. The idea is to deliver the right expertise at the right time, so clients can meet their objectives while keeping headcount down, plus not pay for training or staff to handle occasional tasks. When all of this comes together, the client gets the best value. ...Read More

Protect Your PSO and Increase Your Services Margins

Author thumbnail

We all know that a strong, solid foundation is critical to the sustainability of a building. Without it, no matter how fancy the paint and fixtures, its residents and guests will forever be walking on shaky ground. For a PSO, the equivalent of a foundation is its contracts. Even if you provide the best, most efficient services in your industry, you will not be able to get the most value f ...Read More

Reinventing Services for SaaS – 3 Things That Matter

Author thumbnail

What first comes to mind when I consider Software as a Service is, naturally, the service. Creating exceptional quality for your customers means the difference between creating loyal clients, and customers seeking their solutions elsewhere. With a strong focus on service, your company can build those customer relationships, create an intimacy with your product and develop a loyal customer ba ...Read More

4 Leadership Skills That Define 'Servant Leadership'

Author thumbnail

Good leaders spend time thinking about being good leaders… and how to be great leaders. They think about what it means to be a leader, and especially in our world of professional services they ask themselves; how do I provide effective leadership to a group of highly motivated, self-directed, super-smart people? How do I infuse the idea of accountability and ownership throughout the o ...Read More

Techniques for Developing a Project Management Post-Mortem Knowledge Base

Author thumbnail

History itself is full of stories where the same mistakes are made over and over again. Here is a classic example “Napoleon marched his French troops to invade Russia, almost all of his troops died from hypothermia, disease, and starvation. One hundred and twenty nine years later, Hitler did the exact same thing.” Read More

7 Strategies for Managing Geographically-Dispersed Professional Services Teams

Author thumbnail

It seems like every organization is faced with this scenario and it differs greatly from how companies managed teams and resources 20 years ago. In today’s world of global professional services organizations project managers, resource managers, department managers, CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, CFOs, COOs, and everyone in between seem to be managing – at some time or another – resource ...Read More

8 Steps for Adopting Lean Methods to Increase Your Professional Services Sales

Author thumbnail

Traditional Approaches to Increasing Services Sales We’ve all been there – suddenly demand for a previously popular service line declines – maybe it’s been awhile since the last software release or maybe your product sales team hasn’t attracted many new clients in that area. Whatever the reason you have people on the bench and P&L pain. Traditionally ...Read More

Six Key Activities for Successful In-house Software Deployment

Author thumbnail

Even for Services Organizations, transformational initiatives are simply challenging to deliver, no matter how large or small the organization. Driven by the pace of business and our “can do attitude”, Services Organizations within High Tech companies often lose sight of the significant role transformational investments play in enabling business strategy, improving process, and p ...Read More

6 Key Performance Indicators for Professional Services Groups in Product Companies

Author thumbnail

Professional services teams that ply their trade in product companies face a built-in challenge: how do you prove value? If your business sells products as opposed to services—hardware, software, SaaS or cloud technologies, for example—your services are typically bolted on, not developed as core offerings, so you constantly need to make the business case for what you do and, more ...Read More

What Professional Services Leaders Can Learn from the 2012 Presidential Elections

Author thumbnail

OK, by now everyone in America is probably pretty much over the Presidential election and the endless blog posts and punditry. I thought I was until I read a series of interesting, and very relevant to our profession, postings over the weekend after the election. Not only did I find the story interesting, but it prompted me to change the topic of my PS Pulse Article after turning to PSVillag ...Read More

How to Create Long-term (and profitable) Champion Client Relationships

Author thumbnail

After you wrap up a project and move on, what lasting impression do you leave with clients? That you are brilliant? Ho-hum? Will you soon become a dim memory? Your future success with a client depends, naturally, on the quality of the results you help achieve. But the clients you worked with will write the history of those results after you’re gone. Do you want that history to reflect ...Read More

5 Critical Success Factors for a Program Management Office

Author thumbnail

Much has been written about program and project management best practice. However, the execution of best practices often does not include operational considerations and organization dynamics that sometimes can make or break the success of the best Project Management Office (PMO). Today’s corporate landscape is littered with failed high-visibility projects, unhappy executives and progra ...Read More

Analytics and Big Data – the Next Technology Wave to Hit Professional Services

Author thumbnail

The Next Wave of Innovation: Analytics and Big Data As solution oriented consultants we always need to be looking out for the next game coming to town. Over the last five years enterprise implementations have been driven by innovations in SaaS and Mobility technologies. The migration of enterprise SW to the cloud has had major, mostly positive, ramifications on implementation consulting. ...Read More

Survive and Thrive Selling Professional Services in a Software Company

Author thumbnail

Is selling services in a software company the hardest job in the industry?  That’s what I’ve been told a few times in my career, and sometimes it has felt that way.  However, I’ve learned a few things in my 15+ years of selling that have helped me exceed quotas and keep my sanity (not always at the same time, admittedly), and I’d like to share them with you. ...Read More

How to Sell Professional Services To Your Sales Team

Author thumbnail

It’s a bad stereotype, but generally product sales people just want to get services out of the way, especially if they feel that you are taking budget dollars away from their license sales. For those of us who work for product companies, license revenue is a good thing and it’s the engine that keeps our companies going. However, there is definitely a place for services too. Wh ...Read More

Develop Good Consultants into Great Consultants

Author thumbnail

There are good consultants and then there are great consultants. Every company needs good consultants who are the core of the professional services organization and can effectively project manage, write code, configure and implement systems consistently with high quality. Great consultants are those members of your team who help your organization grow and are the go-to people for complex, im ...Read More

Focus on Improving Your Professional Services Gross Margin

Author thumbnail

In over 30 years of consulting with mostly services firms, I have seen my clients face a broad spectrum of issues around revenue, sales, clients, operations, personnel and more. Whether the situations are common or unique, there is a prevailing theme that,"There’s nothing wrong that more business won’t fix". Unfortunately, that can be a trap. Remember the saying, " ...Read More

The Secret to Ensuring Project Success

Author thumbnail

We have all been involved in projects that have gone smoothly and ones that have gone terribly wrong. During those times of successful projects things feel great! We are at the top of our game, customer interaction is solid and we are able to have time to focus our efforts on the improvement of the practice. When things are going wrong, due to hitting unforeseen issues, critical escalations, ...Read More

Focus on Improving Your Professional Services Gross Margin 2

Author thumbnail

In over 30 years of consulting with mostly services firms, I have seen my clients face a broad spectrum of issues around revenue, sales, clients, operations, personnel and more.  Whether the situations are common or unique, there is a prevailing theme that, “There’s nothing wrong that more business won’t fix”.  Unfortunately, that can be a trap.  Rememb ...Read More

Cloud and Agile: Delivering On the Promise of “The Cloud” Starting at Implementation

Author thumbnail

As the perception of “The Cloud” becomes synonymous with “fast, cheap, and easy”, use Agile concepts to model your professional services project delivery methods to help your clients realize those benefits at the onset of implementation and beyond. As the numbers of cloud vendors burgeon and the overall quality of the solutions offered matures, IT Executives are incre ...Read More

Integrate Business Value into Your Delivery Model to Ensure Long-Term Success

Author thumbnail

You’ve worked long and hard to land business. Your team and delivery practices are solid. Yet in this economic climate, new projects and clients are still at risk if you do not (1) effectively communicate the value your services will provide in business terms, and (2) establish a linkage to “the Business” (i.e., the key decision makers and leaders driving the client's c ...Read More

Maximizing Employee Retention in Your PSO Starts with a Review of Your Management Team

Author thumbnail

As markets begin to come out of their deep freeze, consulting organizations are excited to be looking at a new period of growth.  Yet, with these new opportunities come the possibility of organizational pain. Numbers from research conducted by Consulting magazine show that over two-thirds of entry level and junior level consultants are potentially vulnerable to leave their current organ ...Read More

Social Media and Your PSO: Building Thought Leadership and Promoting Your Brand

Author thumbnail

When people are your product and you are looking at branding and promoting your PSO, traditional marketing simply does not work. In fact, one could argue that in the era of social media, traditional marketing alone won’t work - period. Marketing a PSO is about identifying your niche of thought leadership; differentiating from your competitors; and amplifying a series of messages that s ...Read More

Transitioning to SaaS – An event or a journey?

Author thumbnail

In the old days many services organizations were run like independent business units within a software company.  With the introduction of SaaS, the lines between business units blurs as the key objective shifts to customer retention.  Selling an expensive up-front license and delivering a wide array of services over a long period of time certainly drives different behavior than ear ...Read More

Survive and Thrive: Selling Services In A Software Company

Author thumbnail

Is selling services in a software company the hardest job in the industry? That’s what I’ve been told a few times in my career, and sometimes it has felt that way. However, I’ve learned some things in my 15+ years of selling that have helped me exceed quotas and keep my sanity (not always at the same time, admittedly), and I’d like to share them with you. In this a ...Read More

A 3-Step Process to Successfully Manage Client Expectations

Author thumbnail

One of the greatest challenges implementation consultants face is managing client expectations.  Consider the following scenario: Your company just won a large project to implement your flexible, enterprise software solution. You beat the competition by offering the best product, implementation approach, and price. Your weary client has gone through a long, exhausting and possibl ...Read More

Transforming Customer Support and Professional Services in the SaaS World

Author thumbnail

We all know how the traditional customer support model works in the software world. Specifically named representatives of the customer contact a help desk (via email, web entry, or phone call) to report a problem / issue with the software, which is then monitored through resolution using incident tracking software. Level 1 support personnel triage the issue (according to a predeter ...Read More

The Art of Successful Professional Service Training

Author thumbnail

As managers of professional service businesses, we are all aware of the need for successful professional service training. The pace of change in the technology industry continues to increase, so new products and service offerings are emerging rapidly. From a management perspective, effective training is the primary mechanism to enable architects, consultants and project managers to deliver n ...Read More

Making Complex Projects Succeed: Know Your Client’s Mindset Before You Begin

Author thumbnail

You’re bound to have doubts before you start any project. That inner voice will nag at you–is this really the right thing to do and the way to do it? Will it result in the value promised? And, will it go smoothly or end up a nightmare? Given project failure rates, such misgivings are natural. Researchers say that the failure rate for IT projects, for example, can be as hig ...Read More

The Service–Product Feedback Loop

Author thumbnail

The Service – Product Feedback Loop As Professional Services leaders, just about all of our time goes to keeping the customers satisfied, the staff productive and the numbers on target. There’s another crucially important aspect of our jobs though, that’s always there somewhere on the priority list but doesn’t always get as much attention. That is the need ...Read More

Unlocking the Customer Value – Professional Services As a Key Driver of the Customer Lifecycle

Author thumbnail

Today, businesses understand that their relationship with the customer is not about the initial sale. That first transaction is simply the first stepping stone in what one hopes will be a long and mutually satisfying journey. To enable that journey – and ultimately the customer's happiness– the entire organization must be engaged across the entire customer lifecycle in making ...Read More

Impact of SaaS on Consulting Engagements: A Customer View

Author thumbnail

The jury has voted: SaaS is here to stay. I believe that’s a good thing. I’ve been involved in the movement to move enterprise software “off premise” from the early days of the technology, and I am a diehard advocate. Not only does SaaS deliver the obvious benefits – no hardware procurement and deployment, no need to deal with upgrades, rapid deployment, capital ...Read More

Customer Success: Leveraging CRM in a PSO to Create a Coordinated View of the Customer

Author thumbnail

Professional Services organizations have long been measured by the fundamental objectives of profitability, utilization, and services revenues. However, facilitating true customer success hinges more squarely upon how well a company understands the needs of its customers, sets achievable expectations around the delivery of those needs, and executes beyond those expectations. As our ...Read More

Services Resource Planning – Evolution Beyond Best of Breed Point Solutions

Author thumbnail

You and I have something very important in common: we both want to see our professional services business thrive and operate as efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, until recently, enterprise software was not very sensitive to our needs. Our sales teams have seen the benefits of sales force automation (SFA) tools, our finance teams have a multitude of accounting software packages to ...Read More

The Butterfly Effect in Project Management - How to Make Disciplined Decisions in Project-based Organizations

Author thumbnail

Small variations of the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system. The Butterfly Effect is a term used in Chaos Theory to describe how small changes can have a substantial impact on large complex systems, like weather patterns. The term has been used to suggest that the wing movement of a butterfly might have significa ...Read More

Zero to 60: Building Global PSO’s within a Product Company

Author thumbnail

Going from zero to sixty is about time to market (speed) but also about critical mass (people) and building a sizeable business (revenue); yes, there is a double meaning here which applies. Time to market along with quality is important but can be categorized as competing priorities when racing to drive product adoption with customers, maximize revenue potentials within a sales proces ...Read More

4 Sure-Fire Ways to Bring More Value to Your Customer Relationships

Author thumbnail

This may sound odd, but I really like my dentist. My loyalty to his practice isn’t because of the services he offers. In fact, it seems like there’s a dentist on every corner, and most of them could probably do what he does. Nor is it because of his prices–I’m not even sure how his charges stack up against others. Mostly, I go back to him because he knows how I ...Read More

Making the Case for Remote vs. On-Site Implementation Consulting

Author thumbnail

Recently, I visited a potential client with my Sales team to give a product demo and discuss implementation methods. When we moved into the discussion on how to implement our SaaS ERP solution we began an all too familiar exchange about where the Implementation Consultants would work. I described our typical approach for this type of engagement, which is to start with an On-Site Kick Off ...Read More

5 Key Components of a Software Implementation Methodology

Author thumbnail

I have been involved in quite a few discussions lately regarding waterfall and agile software implementation methodologies, specifically, debates about which one is better. I understand the pros and cons of each, but we continue to talk in circles about which methodology is the “perfect” one for our Company. I decided to put aside the waterfall vs. agile debate and solely f ...Read More

Broadening the Business Case for Professional Services Automation

Author thumbnail

The business case for a professional services automation (PSA) solution is very well understood by the services executive.  If you are at the helm of a growing services organization, you can readily recognize the value of PSA in helping you to manage your billable resources more effectively, streamline operational efficiency, manage services projects and engagements more holistically, a ...Read More

5 Specific Actions Every Professional Services Leader Should Consider When Deploying New Products

Author thumbnail

You sold what? And you want it installed when? These two oft-recited phrases that emanate from Managers of Professional Services to Sales can elicit belly-busting laughs, hair-pulling groans or crying in your beer at the local tavern, but these days in Professional Services these two statements seem to be ever more prevalent. Constant competitive pressures consistently push Sales to sell pro ...Read More

5 Key Components of a Software Implementation Methodology

Author thumbnail

I have been involved in quite a few discussions lately regarding waterfall and agile software implementation methodologies, specifically debates about which one is better. I understand the pros and cons of each, but we continue to talk in circles about which methodology is the “perfect” one for our Company. I decided to put aside the waterfall vs. agile debate and solely focus on ...Read More

3 Tips on the Road to Cloud Computing Success

Author thumbnail

By now, the advantages cloud computing provides are clear, and more and more services organizations are reaping the benefits of the perfect match the cloud provides for their unique strengths and capabilities. With naturally mobile and tech-savvy teams, services leaders are eager to rapidly expand into new markets, quickly cut ties with unprofitable lines of business, and enable ...Read More

Leveraging Workflows for Agile Project and Professional Services Delivery

Author thumbnail

There is a lot of market buzz around agile service delivery. But when you push anyone who talks agile to give you specifics of how to do it, you discover that there is little actual agile service delivery getting done consistently. If the process works partially or at all it is built around the knowledge of a few agile promoters and a supporting set of spreadsheets or a mishmash of tools. Th ...Read More

Rethinking Utilization as a Compensation Measure

Author thumbnail

I understand that having utilization in consultant compensation plans is rich in tradition, and there is a belief that doing so contributes to an organization’s long-term success.  Often, this inclusion of utilization rate is a major determinant in the compensation plan.   It is a metric that is easily identifiable, computable, and comparable, but does the presence of ut ...Read More

Avoiding Project Pitfalls in a SaaS World

Author thumbnail

Simplicity, flexibility, and speed of implementation are some of the key benefits of Software as a Service (SaaS).  Indeed, these attributes have revolutionized enterprise application computing over the past decade.  But all too often, these same benefits lead to false expectations and a sense of complacency that can take a project off course.  Anticipating these expectations ...Read More

Why Value Selling Falls Short, & What You Can Do About It

Author thumbnail

  "Trust in God, but tie up your camel." - Mideast Proverb  There is no doubt that over the last three decades value selling has transformed how America does business. By shifting the focus from features to benefits to value delivered, value selling has put the focus in business where it belongs: on the payback to the customer. In turn the focus on value has translat ...Read More

Getting a Handle on Revenue Recognition / VSOE (Thank you, Enron!)

Author thumbnail

Do you remember the good old days of managing projects when all you had to do when a project was completed was just report that “It’s done”?  There were no questions from anybody in finance asking: “What was the date it was completed?”, “Who was the project manager?“, and “Where is the customer signature?” among many other questions. ...Read More

6 Ways to Cultivate Soft Skills in Your PSO

Author thumbnail

The make up and focus of the embedded services organization has changed dramatically over the last ten years.  Here are just a few of the ways the services picture has evolved  - particularly within the technology sector where embedded services organizations are rapidly gaining traction and where we at Compuware are spending a great deal of focus these days: The rise of  ...Read More

Resource Management: Turning ‘Bad News’ Into Your Secret Weapon

Author thumbnail

How often is it that a statistic jumps out and grabs you?  It happened to me recently.  A few weeks ago I was thumbing through a recent industry benchmark report.  I wasn’t surprised to read that the most “mature” PS organizations enjoy the highest bill rates, the highest margins, the highest EBITDA, the highest customer sat and the highest employee retentio ...Read More

The Importance of Having a Well-Defined and Documented Professional Services Methodology

Author thumbnail

"Displaying Maturity in Your Services" PS process mapping is often an area in which PS organizations stall during organizational maturity. Often overlooked is the need to define and document a clear methodology that describes the unique value proposition of the services organization.    Let's take a quick survey:   a)    Does your PS orga ...Read More

8 Steps to Creating a Strong Professional Services Brand

Author thumbnail

As in any business, a professional services firm or organization must win customers' hearts and minds by building a brand that will attract customers to the business.  By taking a strategic approach to define who you are and why customers should do business with you, you can create your brand identity—how you want to be perceived. Once this is in place, the challenge is to align y ...Read More

5 Good Reasons to Partner with Systems Integrators

Author thumbnail

Every successful software company needs to partner with systems integrators (SI's). We all have our own professional services groups, but there are many logical reasons to work with other firms that provide what might potentially be competing services.  At the end of the day, if handled properly, it will allow you to expand your business much more quickly than you could by working witho ...Read More

Why Your Project Management Sucks

Author thumbnail

From Sucks to Bucks for Technology and Software Businesses The world of software and technology has changed. Most technology and software professionals know this but seem to be caught like a deer in the headlights … waiting and staring until they get hit hard by a truck or the competition, whichever comes first. Your competition today comes from anywhere in the world. It can be a ...Read More

What's to Become of Professional Services in a SaaS World?

Author thumbnail

What's to become of services in a SaaS World? To get started with answering this question, I felt it important to cover two primary concepts. First, what is SaaS? And secondly, what are typical types of services. Then I felt it would be easier to discuss the impact of services in a SaaS world. What is SaaS? SaaS is Software-as-a-Service with the common theme of paying for sof ...Read More

Internal Client Communication: Early Validation Prevents Projects from Starting Off Sideways

Author thumbnail

We all want projects to start off smoothly. Nothing sets the stage better than a solid Kickoff presentation that introduces all the team members (from the client and the service provider), explains the anticipated benefits from doing the project and identifying at a high-level what the scope of the project entails. This implies of course, that the Project Managers from both sides and the cli ...Read More

The Trouble with Elevator Speeches

Author thumbnail

Your elevator speech—that scripted, thirty-second intro—should pack as much information about you as possible in an engaging, persuasive, and interesting way, right?   Unfortunately, even the “best” elevator speech can be an express trip to oblivion for anyone hoping to shine in a personal marketing moment. Your short spiel can drain the power from that all-impor ...Read More

Professional Services in the Clouds – The Art of Implementing Complex SaaS-based Solutions

Author thumbnail

With the continual improvements in cloud computing, the future of software consulting is all about providing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based solutions.  In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and potential pitfalls of SaaS, and how a SaaS-based world impacts the art of implementing complex enterprise-level solutions.   SaaS Primer   By way of a quick revie ...Read More

A Professional Services Field Survival Guide (Abridged Version)

Author thumbnail

As professional services managers, we are always looking to improve our chances of delivering repeatable success. A common approach is to identify shortcomings in our own process maturity and begin building out enhancements or entirely new methods to achieve better results. While there is no real substitute for the implementation of robust frameworks and processes, some organizatio ...Read More

Service for the Seasons: The Top 7 Things You Can Do for Your Clients in 2011

Author thumbnail

Start the year out right for your service clients: as companies prepare to face the new business year, there are seven specific areas that professional service professionals can address that will grease the skids for client success in 2011. Provide a Technology Tune Up Have you ever done a remodeling project in your own home? And about three years afterwards, wished there were a servic ...Read More

Can Enterprise Software Companies' PSO Employ Agile/Scrum?

Author thumbnail

Thirty-five percent of IT departments follow agile delivery methods, according to Forrester. No, they’re not just following iterative methods and calling it agile, but a little over twenty percent are and only thirteen percent are still following a waterfall method, including the famed CMM. These thirty-five percent are adopting a working style that empowers our highly skilled and hi ...Read More

Improving the Financial Management of Your Services Business

Author thumbnail

Financial systems and controls are fundamental tools for operating any business. They generate reliable accounting statements and automate financial policies and processes necessary for corporate governance and risk mitigation. However, if you are at the helm of a rapidly growing professional services operation, you probably know the pain of managing the financial view of your services bu ...Read More

Setting Your Price -- T&M or Fixed Price

Author thumbnail

You can’t see one or touch one. The customer must purchase one before experiencing it and measuring the results. How do you price something that is invisible? How do you price a promise? Many professional services organizations start with hourly rates, move to cost-based pricing, and then to value pricing as they build their brand and become more experienced in scoping projects.   ...Read More

7 Tips for Empowering Your People

Author thumbnail

My high school driver’s education teacher was Mr. Jack Crabtree, a truly good man and a great teacher.  Now Mr. Crabtree wasn’t a corporate citizen or a business leader, but upon reflection of his teachings I can see where he taught how to effectively empower others.  Please let me digress a moment and share a story about Mr. Crabtree.   Mr. Crabtree had ...Read More

Scaling Services Excellence

Author thumbnail

Recently, I was speaking with the head of a large professional services organization within a technology company. His team is rapidly expanding in size as the business increasingly turns to services as a key driver for product sales enablement and customer satisfaction.   Like many service executives today, he is looking to scale services excellence across his global organizat ...Read More

Skills Tracking: Taking Resource Management to a Whole New Level

Author thumbnail

 As a professional services executive, you know all too well that resource optimization is essential to success. Being able to put the right consultant onto the right project at the right time is essential to your job and to the success of client engagements, and leads to greater business benefits, from improving billable utilization to reducing the need for using subcontractors.&n ...Read More

Cloud Services - More than Just Another Service Offering

Author thumbnail

  At this point, there is no question that cloud computing is firmly established in the enterprise. More and more enterprises are looking to accelerate their adoption of cloud applications and platforms. IDC forecasts that spending on cloud solutions and services will grow at 26% (6 times the growth rate of traditional IT offerings) over the next 3 years and account for 10 ...Read More

Ten Major Trends for 2011 and How They Impact Professional Services and Project Delivery

Author thumbnail

I am no futurist but Jim Carroll is. I was returning from a PSVillage breakfast meeting when I ran into Jim at the airport. I have worked with Jim on a number of occasions. He was gracious enough to write an excellent forward to my last book Rise of the Project Workforce. He eloquently explained that the way we work and are motivated to get things done has fundamentally changed, focusing spe ...Read More

"There’s Still Gold in Them Thar Hills": How to get Revenue from SaaS ERP Deals

Author thumbnail

 The software-as-a-service delivery method radically changed how customers bought services: no painful upgrades that required extensive assistance; no multi-year implementations that could not be accomplished without a cast of thousands, no “forklift” upgrades that required replacement of the hardware infrastructure.   But for Professional Services professionals ...Read More

A CEO’s Perspective on Professional Services Management – Part 2

Author thumbnail

"Managing an embedded services team in a high tech company" In Part 1 of this article, I shared some of the challenges an embedded service team encounters from the perspective of senior management. The observations were based on our experiences at Tenrox and my discussions with other Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and executives in various software and high-tech companies. In Par ...Read More

PSOs: Good Financials are the Symptom

Author thumbnail

Some believe that running a world-class professional services organization requires the absolute brightest staff, others will hang their hat on processes, others on the belief that sales and selling is the key, and some even believe that it can only be achieved by having the most brilliant leader. Although common sense and an innate appreciation of today’s competitive business environm ...Read More

The Worst Thing about Best Practices

Author thumbnail

It’s tough to pinpoint when, but somewhere along the line, copying the tactics of other companies morphed into adopting “best practices.” The notion that an organization can transplant the ideas of another has become so widespread that it’s no wonder so many banks, supermarkets, airlines, retailers, and professional firms look remarkably alike.  Best practices - ...Read More

Is Cold Calling Dead? Does Internet Marketing and Social Media Signal the End of Dialing for Dollars?

Author thumbnail

Hey! What happened to my market? A VP of Sales at an IT services organization recently told me, “Sometime in 2008 cold calling just stopped working for us. At first, we thought it was the economy. Now we see a fundamental shift in the way people buy.” Some of my best friends are sales guys. It’s true. Normally a cocky bunch of souls, most have been in the business fo ...Read More

Top Professional Services Management Challenges – Part 1

Author thumbnail

Perspectives on managing an embedded services team in a high tech company Managing the professional services team has been and continues to be one of the most demanding positions at any fast growing high tech company with an embedded service team. Our professional services team went through some major organizational changes and process improvements as we transformed our business starting fiv ...Read More

Metrics that Matter: Quality vs. Quantity

Author thumbnail

Gauges on the boiler…business analytics…scorecards…performance management…the list goes on. The software industry’s focus on measuring and reporting business activity is large, vibrant and growing – and for good reason. As leaders it is essential for us to know how well our business is performing. In fact it’s critical, especially as a business g ...Read More

Services as an Agent for Organizational Change

Author thumbnail

The world around you is changing. Your company has recognized the strategic value of professional services, and has acknowledged that your organization can be an engine for revenue growth, competitive differentiation and customer satisfaction. But now the work begins.   As a services executive, you and your team are now more active participants in the broader business mission, a ro ...Read More

Developing PMO Standards in a PSO Environment – Ease of Use in Compliance to Standards

Author thumbnail

As we know, the project management process works very well in a Professional Service Organization (PSO) for many reasons. Since we work as consultants, delivering projects for clients within scope, time and budget is of the upmost importance. I work in a very niche corner of the financial services market. One of the services we deliver in my division of FIS, the Risk, Fraud and Compliance ...Read More

10 Key Steps to Differentiate Your Service Business

Author thumbnail

Differentiate our businesses, that is. We know we need to. We think we do it. In reality, far fewer IT professional services firms are differentiated than you might think. The Issues: The potential consequences of not achieving differentiation include: Stagnant growth relative to sales and revenue Participation in more RFPs than sole-source opportunities, because ...Read More

Project Managers and the Burning Platform

Author thumbnail

The term “burning platform” has been a mainstay in the business lexicon for many years. For those not familiar with its origin, the story goes something like this: A man working on an oil platform in the North Sea is awakened suddenly one night by an explosion. Amidst the chaos, he made his way to the edge of the platform. As a plume of fire billowed behind him, he decided to j ...Read More

Knowledge Transfer and Relationship Building

Author thumbnail

Every service professional knows the importance of knowledge transfer. Just like in a basketball or hockey or any sports team, a professional services organization needs their veterans and their rookies and moving these employees though the ranks of experience is what keeps a team healthy and growing. Passing knowledge from the older and wiser to the new and eager is an omnipresent ...Read More

Running an Effective Assessment Workshop

Author thumbnail

Converting a lead to an opportunity requires a lot of effort from your executives, sales and delivery personnel. However, converting that opportunity into a full scale long term consulting assignment is no easy task. This is where rubber meets the road. Most clients want to see what your company and the consultants in specific have to offer, they have heard about the skills you and your co ...Read More

Risk Management at the Organizational Level

Author thumbnail

If you start each week questioning where you should spend your time, or end the week frustrated with the feeling that you are always in response mode, maybe now is the time for you to implement an organizational  risk management strategy. You have all your weekly tasks to do; management reports, queries from the board, recruitment, business development, etc. Wouldn’t it be ni ...Read More

Using "The Cloud" to Grow Your Services Business

Author thumbnail

Professional service firms of all stripes have been telling their clients for years to focus on their core competence.  This very advice is what drives the existence of the professional services industry-- companies deciding that some tasks are best handled by external specialists.  What if you started taking that advice for your business? What activities do you currently spend res ...Read More

Why Profitability Matters

Author thumbnail

Utilization is the metric that we talk about the most, but is it the right metric for the PS executive?  The Services business has evolved to introduce complexity that a simple utilization metric cannot address.  In this article, Ed Marshall, SVP of Product Strategy at OpenAir discusses the importance of tracking profitability to the services executive. PSVillage has been a great s ...Read More

Developing a Win-Win Partnership with System Integrators

Author thumbnail

Last year I joined a small, but quickly growing software company with a policy automation solution for property and casualty insurance carriers and large agencies. My immediate challenge was to increase the number of new customers that could be implemented in a year. The company had success from having a very market relevant product that has a tremendous amount of industry insight built in. ...Read More

Facts, Figures and Features: How We Often Miss the Point When Talking with Prospects and Clients

Author thumbnail

You're driving down a deserted road when your car hits a pothole and the engine cuts out. The car slowly rolls to a halt by the side of the road. You're alone, there's no cell phone reception and there's no building for miles. You have the choice of trying to fix the problem or sitting there alone for a very long time. With an hour until sunset, you decide to take a stab at getting the car ...Read More

When Clients Put You on the Hot Seat

Author thumbnail

I knew something was seriously wrong when my client’s newly hired CFO called to say he was “voiding” my last invoice. Well, he had promised the client’s management team that he’d be aggressive in managing costs. I had no idea he’d start with me.   We all face sticky situations and cranky clients—they go with the territory. It’s not t ...Read More

Rules for the Recovery - 6 Critical Focus Areas for Managing Your Business Through the Upswing

Author thumbnail

It may be too early to be certain, but many economists are now suggesting that the recession may be coming to an end.  And while that’s great to hear, it also means that there’s a lot of hard work yet to be done in order for companies to ramp back up, and eventually surpass their previous financial and operational levels.  I do believe we’re going to get there - b ...Read More

Service Defection: How Well do You Really Know Your Customers?

Author thumbnail

"Three different integrators visited me this week” says a corporate CFO, “trying to sell me upgrades for my ERP and my desktop operating systems.  My response: “I’m not going to spend a penny with you unless you can show me that every dollar I spend generates an additional dollar in benefit.” “And I showed all three of them out the door.” A ...Read More

Designing an Effective Design Process

Author thumbnail

I’m writing this article as a follow up to my last article - “Designing Deliverables for Efficiency”. The major points I made in that article was that deliverables created in the design process of a technology project have to meet certain goals. Read More

Connecting CRM and Project Management Software

Author thumbnail

A question that is often asked by sales and project management executives is what information should be exchanged between a CRM application and project management software, and what are the benefits of connecting these two enterprise software applications? CRM and Project Management Software Data Flow The diagram above shows an overview of the various types of information exchanged between ...Read More

Big or Small - There is Work For Us All

Author thumbnail

Professional Services Consulting companies come in all different sizes:  small, medium, large, and enormous.  Unlike other markets, though, the size of the consulting company has little impact on the expertise, bill rates, or geographic coverage.  I have seen variances in specialized markets, but general operational consulting tends to be a pretty competitive market.  Why ...Read More

Smart Selling: Small Things Can Have a Big Impact on Organizational Profitability

Author thumbnail

Overview Every service delivery manager focuses on profitability. In an increasingly cost competitive marketplace, a couple points of margin can mean the difference between a good quarter and a bad one. Effective project execution and tight control of overhead costs are the most common practices for managing operating margins. There are, however, a number of less obvious factors affecting ma ...Read More

One Question to Ask Every Client

Author thumbnail

When a client calls you about an issue or problem, it’s natural for you to ask questions, including why the client needs to address the issue. But as you proceed through the sales process, you’ll find that one question in particular, asked at just the right time, can open up your sales conversations and lead to new insights for you and the client. That question is how does the cl ...Read More

The Need for Speed - Why Speed Wins When Selling Services in a Down Economy

Author thumbnail

We’ve all heard the classic children’s story about The Tortoise and the Hare and how “slow and steady wins the race”.  That may be true in Aesop Fable’s.  But I’m sure that dear old Aesop never had the task of selling professional services in a down economy. Read More

Managing Opportunistic Sales in an Economic Slowdown

Author thumbnail

Face it-in tough times, the temptation is to sell whatever one can to whomever one can. When opportunism drives sales; strategy unravels. Even worse, the longer term repercussions from such opportunism can actually cost the company revenue. Off-target, “one-off” sales may generate short term revenue, but prove detrimental over time - requiring diversion of development or support ...Read More

"C"- Level Selling

Author thumbnail

The buyers of professional services and complex solutions are seldom the same individuals who purchase products. Usually at least one and often several levels above the normal product sales relationships, these busy executives have different issues, expectations, world views, and mindsets to take into consideration when trying to influence their buying behaviors. In other words, the same cap ...Read More

Four Disciplines Tiger Woods Can Teach a PS Leader on How to Improve Their Business

Author thumbnail

You may be tempted to tune out of this article because you think it’s an easy answer. Simply have incredible skill, be maniacally focused and ultra competitive and bingo, there’s the magical Tiger Woods formula. Right? Not so fast. After all, Tom Watson and Phil Mickelson also possess those very same traits and neither has a chance to surpass Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 maj ...Read More

Building a Customer-Oriented Professional Services Portfolio

Author thumbnail

"Acquiring a new customer can cost 6 to 7 times more than retaining an existing customer. In fact, businesses who boosted customer retention rates by as little as 5% saw increases in their profits ranging from 5% to a whopping 95%.” (Grey Marketing Solutions) If it costs more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, then how are you ensuring your professional serv ...Read More

Projects or Staffing - Does it Matter?

Author thumbnail

Absolutely.  While most professional services firms do both projects and staffing to varying degrees, it is essential that you choose one as your core delivery approach and that it supports your corporate strategy and vision.  The decision impacts every aspect of your company internally and externally from leadership through back office support. There is no right or wrong answer as ...Read More

10 Hottest Tips to Sustain High Utilization

Author thumbnail

Introduction The most challenging aspect of running a Professional Services Operation (PSO) is managing the utilization of people.  While there are many important aspects of managing a PSO, managing utilization of human capital is fundamental to making a profit.  Unfortunately the majority of PSO’s in the market today do not achieve their full potential when it comes to fully ...Read More

Five Success Factors for the Automation of Your Global Services Delivery

Author thumbnail

In today’s economic situation, much has been made about the need to automate business processes to cut overhead costs and accelerate services to the marketplace.  This can prove difficult for any organization due to a variety of mitigating factors including cash flow issues, executive support, and unexpected variations to your project plan.  These issues manifest themselves e ...Read More

Cultivating a Project Manager

Author thumbnail

I’m not sure anyone ever said ‘when I grow-up, I want to be a project manager’.  It’s the type of job that is critical in many companies but not one that necessarily is anyone’s dream job out of school.  Part of this may be due to the fact that becoming a project manager is not a book-learned skill but an investment of time and gaining of experience th ...Read More

Patience in Practice Development - Ten Critical Lessons

Author thumbnail

After years of attempting to build practice areas in my consulting organizations, I have come to the point of being able to present to others some of the things that have worked.  In this article I will discuss ten of my lessons learned. To begin, let’s establish with what I am referring to in the term “Practices”.  I use the term of a Practice as a focused effort ...Read More

So What is the Role of a PSO at a Software as a Service (SaaS) Company, Anyway?

Author thumbnail

Software as a service (SaaS) products have many advantages over enterprise software. With no hardware and software to deploy, SaaS customers benefit from lower start up costs and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Additionally, all customers benefit equally from software upgrades and improvements - not just those considered “strategic” or with fat wallets. Yet, many companies ...Read More

Does It Feel Like Your Hair Is On Fire?

Author thumbnail

We all know the old saying in the media: “If it bleeds, it leads”.  The fact is, bad news still makes good headlines.  And today’s headlines are all about the economy.  The media, it seems, is obsessed with economic bad news.  Maybe because we, as a society, are so afraid of bad news that, when we hear even the slightest hint of bad news, we tune it out. ...Read More

The Five Things Your People Want, Expect, and Deserve

Author thumbnail

What attracts the best talent? How do you keep them? If you want to make your life easier, then do a better job of delivering the five things that your people want, expect, and deserve. To work for an organization they are proud to be associated with. People like to be associated with organizations that have their act together--those that have lofty ideals, important missions, and inspiring ...Read More

Ten Predictions for Project Management Trends in 2009

Author thumbnail

2008 was an eventful, prosperous year for the project management practice, project management service and solution providers: - Several independent vendors merged with larger entities; many more new small companies with innovative technologies emerged onto the scene. Given the poor macro picture, the amount of M&A and startup activity in this space shows how much interest there is and ho ...Read More

Soft Skills: The True Life Blood of a Healthy PS Organization - A Guide to Developing a Well-Rounded PS Staff

Author thumbnail

BACKGROUND Professional Services Organizations are often quite proud of the technical expertise of their personnel - and deservedly so. It is common to hear things such as “Sue is the best technical architect - there is nothing she cannot do with this product.” At the same time, how many of us have seen situations where the great technical resource:   Read More

Cash is King - Solution Selling in Today's Troubled Times

Author thumbnail

Anyone who knows me, knows I am not often at a loss for words. I must admit, that with all of the negativity and erosion around us, it is hard to know what to say. It is hard to decide what to focus on first, what will reasonate best, and most importantly, what will ensure that we do not offend some very weary clients who are dealing with issues that most have not experienced in their career ...Read More

Designing Deliverables for Efficiency

Author thumbnail

Deliverables are at the Heart of Team Collaboration One of my favorite words in professional services is “deliverable”.  It captures the transformation from abstract thinking to tangible result.  It says, “Ideas were floating in the air between us, and now they have become something.” There is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from a well crafted cryst ...Read More

Creating Value as the Middle Man

Author thumbnail

In December's article "Maintaining Your Clients through Tough Economic Times," we investigated Web 2.0 means to maintain communication and engage your client base throughout the recession so you and the value of your services are top-of-mind when those clients emerge at the recession's end. (Yes, Virginia, it WILL end.) Here we are looking at another way to strengthen relat ...Read More

Making Sense of Utilization in a Services Firm

Author thumbnail

All services executives and professionals are challenged with how they should track and measure utilization.  Utilization is a pertinent issue to all services organization, whether it is a consulting firm, software vendor, or other project based organization.  Maintaining high utilization of your employees drives higher billings, higher revenue and ultimately higher profits.  ...Read More

Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie & Business Intelligence

Author thumbnail

Spring time.  The snow is melting and it’s a time of renewal. The first buds are appearing on the trees, golfers in the Midwest and East Coast are getting in their first muddy rounds and the sounds of the crack of the bat and the ball thumping into the catcher’s glove can be heard loud and clear across Arizona and Florida. America’s past time is about to give us all so ...Read More

The Importance of Community and Communication

Author thumbnail

What is the most effective way to communicate with your team and your organization?  Probably one of the most classic questions asked with no best answer other than “it depends”.  Why does it depend?  We’ve got access to all kinds of communication devices now - email, Instant Messenger, text messaging, e-newsletters, websites, etc.  The key is getting to ...Read More

Take Back Your Customer Experience

Author thumbnail

If you’re a services executive at a product company, and you sell through channel partners, then I have a story for you.  See if this sounds familiar. A friend of mine in Austin, TX started a candle manufacturing company.  A few years ago, after he had just started the company, I stopped by his house to say hello and see how things were going. When I showed up at his house, i ...Read More

8 Tips to Improve Your Relationship with Sales -- Building Trust between Sales and Services

Author thumbnail

One of my favorite contributions in the book Tips from the Trenches: The Collective Wisdom of Over 100 Professional Services Leaders is Tip #54 by Matt Jacobson. Matt starts by saying: ”Blame it all on Sales - That usually doesn’t work so you better keep reading!” I smile every time I think about that tip. He’s referring, of course, to the challenge of building team ...Read More

Job Search Essentials for Professional Services Leaders: 8 Sales Techniques for Landing Your Next Position

Author thumbnail

According to TechCrunch’s Layoff Tracker, nearly 120,000 employees in the tech sector have lost their jobs since August 27, 2008. And the number is growing.  As a result of the current economic climate, many Professional Services Leaders who once considered their jobs safe are now finding themselves back in the job market. It’s an uphill slog to be sure, with few open slots ...Read More

The Nine Guiding Principles of Services Marketing - A Framework for Effectiveness

Author thumbnail

Getting your services marketing efforts “up to the nines,” may be easier than you think. The following proven maxims are aimed at helping you reach the highest degree in services marketing. They’ll show you how to identify your value, better use your resources, and determine project outcomes. These nine principles create a philosophical framework in which services marketing ...Read More

From Box Pusher to Services Sales Professional What It Takes

Author thumbnail

I am constantly asked by services leaders and sales executives what must be done to turn box pushers into effective services sales professionals.  Based upon my personal experience over 20 years, here is what it takes. Begin at the Beginning Determine what level of overall strategic business importance your top executives place on services. Necessary evil? Nice to have revenue? Or ...Read More

Maintaining Your Clients Through Tough Economic Times

Author thumbnail

With the economic winter affecting all areas of business, it may seem like a time for consultants to hibernate.  Now, however, is the time to engage your clients, maintain communication, and perhaps be ready to assist as a consultant in new ways (a topic to be covered in more detail in my next article for PS Village).  And if you are a VAR or system integrator, you are still likely ...Read More

Heroic Delivery: The Hallmark (and Death March) of Most PS Organizations

Author thumbnail

A Guide to Building a Scalable PS Organization and Avoiding Burnout of Your Best People Background Through our work with clients, RTM Consulting has been able to analyze the utilization data of a variety of Consulting and Professional Service Organizations (PSOs) - both large and small.  In virtually every situation, we have seen that 10-20% of the population is 90% or more utilized.&nb ...Read More

Which Resourcing Model Should You Choose? - Aligning Development Resourcing with Service Maturity

Author thumbnail

As a long-time practitioner managing large-scale, service development teams for product companies, I can safely predict that a well produced service offering will help sell and consistently deliver quality solutions to customers. Business leaders want predictable profitability and to avoid the pain of problem escalations.  The Sales team wants services nicely packaged for quick sales.&n ...Read More

Must Do's for These Economic Times and Beyond

Author thumbnail

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...” Those words by Charles Dickens open his classic novel, A Tale of Two Cities, about the French Revolution.  And just as sinister Madame Defarge sits knitting her ominous visions, we, too, are seeing visions of uncertain and troubling times ahead. Will we experience revolutionary times?  In some ways we may.  M ...Read More

Integration is More Than Just Connecting the Dots

Author thumbnail

Are you considering connecting your systems to remove that double data entry overhead?  Where do you start? The most logical starting place is what data does the receiving system need that the sending system can deliver.  Break down the low level details fields and perform a mapping exercise to determine what type of programming is required.  Other logic to consider is data to ...Read More

Expectations -The Key to Customer Satisfaction

Author thumbnail

Managing Expectations - It’s an art .... not a science In the 1982 Academy Award winning film Gandhi there is one scene that will tell you everything you ever need to know about managing expectations.  The year is 1917 and Gandhi is visiting remote villages in India where famine and poverty are the rule not the exception.  When villagers ask .... no beg .... Gandhi for help h ...Read More

6 Steps for Making Your Conference Calls More Effective

Author thumbnail

I dreaded conference calls for years. Finally I decided to stop complaining and do something constructive. To my surprise, I discovered that with a few simple changes conference calls become highly effective meetings. The hardest part was screwing up the courage to ask people to try something different. Turns out there was nothing to fear. People were ready for a positive change. Here are th ...Read More

Lessons from Wall Street - The PSO Survival Guide in Turbulent Times

Author thumbnail

It is fair to say that the most unflappable, were phased recently, as we patiently watched what seemed to be an unraveling of our financial system. I think I must have over heard the question “What are we going to do now?” a million times if I heard it once. I was one of the cynics that politely stated “this is what happens when we lose sight of what is real”, insisti ...Read More

What Wolfgang Puck, Tom Colicchio and Other Celebrity Chefs Can Teach Us About Marketing Our Services

Author thumbnail

Over the course of my career I have observed that both consulting companies and IT organizations generally do a horrible job of marketing, selling and communicating. I’ve discussed this with many of my colleagues over the years and found that not only do they usually agree with me, but many actually take pride in doing a bad job!!!! Technically-oriented professionals seem to have somet ...Read More

Seven Best Practices to Guarantee the Success of SMB Deployments of SaaS

Author thumbnail

Background Although growing trends illustrate that enterprise corporations are moving towards on-demand Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, traditionally this platform has been most popular with small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs).  Online, hosted offerings present a cost effective option to more expensive, slower to deploy client server options.  Regardless of the size of the ...Read More

3 Ways to Handle the Crunch of a Tough Economy

Author thumbnail

As of the writing of this article, the top headline on Yahoo! news is Oil soars on dollar, Energy Dep’t report on falling supplies. The top video is Floods threaten economic disaster in Midwest. Dow down 1.4%. Nasdaq down 1.9%. Regardless of whether or not we are actually in a recession, the economic news and outlook hasn’t been good for about a year. As I speak with leaders of p ...Read More

Expanding Horizons: Increased Opportunities for Consultants in Today's Economy

Author thumbnail

Recessionary times can be tough on the consulting community, but you may find that there are more opportunities now than ever - if you are willing to consider another path to delivering your skills.  Employers often cannot locate the expertise they require, hiring cycles are protracted as employers search for the perfect candidate, experienced employees retire, and companies often try t ...Read More

Catch 22's with Technology vs. Business Processes

Author thumbnail

In working with many companies regarding process definition and efficient operational tool usage, I’ve come across a Catch-22 of sorts:  process driving tool selection and usage tool features and limitations driving process Let’s take the example of a company with well defined processes and looking for a tool to introduce business efficiency and perhaps automation.  T ...Read More

How to Manage Projects While Reducing Travel Costs

Author thumbnail

Just two years ago, more than 75 percent of our implementation work was done on-site and face-to-face across the globe in places like New York, Sydney and London.  Higher gas prices, increased airline fees and travel hassles have made it far more challenging to fly or to commute long distances to deliver projects. Read More

Rev Up Recruiting For Just-in-Time Resourcing

Author thumbnail

Are your recruiting methods keeping pace with rapidly changing needs in human capital management for today’s professional services?   As has been said many times in many publications, it bears repeating to say, in an ever increasing “knowledge economy,” a company’s human capital represents its biggest asset.  Recruiting new and varied talent i ...Read More

Getting What You Want

Author thumbnail

Once upon a time, I imagined that clients would tell me exactly what they wanted. It hasn’t happened yet. I’ve learned that many people don’t know what they want until they get something else. Then their disappointment reveals what they really wanted. I used to blame clients for not knowing what they wanted. I don’t do that anymore, because I’ve realized how oft ...Read More

One Foot on the Boat, One Foot on the Dock

Author thumbnail

Every boater knows the feeling, the queasiness in the stomach that comes the instant you feel you are no longer in control--stretched (literally) between where you have been (the dock) and where you’d like to go (the boat). Docking line in one hand and boat hook in the other, while your feet continue to move in opposite directions, you immediately grasp the meaning of “between th ...Read More

Professional Services Automation - Choices and Challenges

Author thumbnail

Professional Services Automation (PSA) systems have many potential benefits to Professional Services (PS) organizations but realizing the full benefit has its challenges. PSA systems are the “ERP” for PS organizations in that they can encompass selling and forecasting business, managing deliverables and resources, time and expense management modules to name a few.  The poten ...Read More

Are The Can'ts in Control?

Author thumbnail

As leaders of large groups of people, it is all too easy to get caught up in the tales of the charming few - The Can’ts.  This can be time consuming and costly not only to you, but your organization - because if you are caught up in it, you can bet a lot of others are too.  Can you say unproductive? We all know them, see them daily and have them on our teams - the Can’t ...Read More

Transforming a Professional Services Organization

Author thumbnail

As leaders, we have all taken responsibility for an organization that "isn't running optimally". The initial goal when assuming ownership of the sub-optimal organization is to determine how sick the patient is. At this juncture in the assignment, it isn't uncommon to hear analogies such as "We might need to do surgery" or "This patient is on life-support". You m ...Read More

Effective Teaming for Customer Success

Author thumbnail

Teamwork among individuals is a fascinating dynamic in the consulting world.  Webster defines Teamwork as:  “work done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole.” Likewise, Consulting is defined as:  “providing professional or expert advice.” “Subordinating Personal Promin ...Read More

Minding Your P's and Q's - An Organizational Management Approach

Author thumbnail

It is my belief that the saying “minding your P’s and Q’s” did not come from a bar owner’s tally of the pints and quarts for a bar patron, as often is believed.  Instead, I heard it is how owners of such establishments looked after their enterprise utilizing this statement, and help them remember and keep track of its various components.  What is inter ...Read More

People and Projects: An Integrated Framework

Author thumbnail

in·te·grat·ed [in-ti-grey-tid] -adjective 1. combining or coordinating separate elements so as to provide a harmonious, interrelated whole. 2. organized or structured so that constituent units function cooperatively.  Services today are a more important part of the revenue and profit mix of technology companies than ever before.  As a result, we are tasked wit ...Read More

Networking with Your Services Peers: It's Easier Than You Think!

Author thumbnail

Have you ever wondered why people in professional services rarely seem to network? It’s a mystery. A great mystery when you consider how the same people will work all hours for their customers; they’ll travel great distances and give up much of their private time to get there; they’ll answer calls at night; negotiate with engineers; train salespeople; advise the third parti ...Read More

What Political Campaigns Can Teach Service Leaders

Author thumbnail

Politics and religion are two topics my mother told me to avoid unless I wanted the conversation to end in an argument. However, given that politics is the “topic of the year” (and was also in the forefront for the better part of last year!) it provides an interesting framework for discussing an issue of critical importance for all leaders: meaningful communication. Communication ...Read More

The Automated Approach to Project Accounting

Author thumbnail

You’ve successfully sold the project - now let’s look at how you can focus on the consulting that is your real value-add, rather than get wrapped around the axle with project accounting management.  Luckily, today’s automated project accounting solutions can make the process much easier - but what criteria should a consulting firm use to select project accounting tools ...Read More

Should Consultants Own The Utilization Metric?

Author thumbnail

Introduction This article discusses the merits of assigning a metric to your consultants for utilization and driving accountability via governance of that metric.  I’ll start by declaring my bias for doing this, although there are certainly those who would suggest otherwise. Few would debate the need for professional and consulting service providers to achieve consistently high ut ...Read More

Selling Professional Services

Author thumbnail

  The Importance of Teamwork Within the Company and in the Marketplace   Throughout my career I’ve been on the technical side as a programmer and the managerial side as a project manager, team manager, and now company owner.  What has been interesting is seeing the different professional services business models across the various commercial companies I’ve crosse ...Read More

Managing Offshore Operations: So, You've Been Offshoring for a While?

Author thumbnail

So, you have been offshoring for a while.  If your experience is similar to most companies, issues begin to creep into your offshore operation; expectations do not continue to be met consistently; and some in your management team may even question the wisdom of offshoring.  How do you address this situation? Facing the Inevitable Offshoring Hurdles Recently I was called in by a Sil ...Read More

The PSO's Very Best Customers

Author thumbnail

During my years of managing services delivery organizations for enterprise software companies, I have had contact with many great customers across a wide variety of industries.  The customers have been both large and small and have been located all around the world. One distinctive group of customers I call the PSO’s Best Customers.  In each company, these Best Customers are ...Read More

Driving Growth and Profits through Professional Services Automation Software

Author thumbnail

The effectiveness of a professional services organization (PSO), whether a professional services firm or an internal service organization, depends on its ability to fully leverage its collective skills and expertise to efficiently generate business and deliver work product of the highest quality. Irrespective of their specific mission, PSOs across a range of industries are governed by simila ...Read More

Rethinking Your Strategic Assumptions

Author thumbnail

Last year my friend Mark led an effort to reinvent his professional services group. The exercise was a success, but the outcome may surprise you. I asked Mark to share this extraordinary experience, and this is his story. Our professional services organization was stuck. Our strategy no longer suited our goals, and we didn’t know which way to go. We were a small cog in a giant product ...Read More

AFAB is a Four-Letter Word

Author thumbnail

AFAB (A-fab) noun: a sale of “anything for a buck” in order to generate revenue and keep billable employees busy a business situation which can impede company growth, differentiation and/or profits in more mature firms, a symptom of lack of focus on specific product or service offerings   ******************** However you define it, AFAB (anything for a buck) is a condition ...Read More

10 Steps to Building a Mentoring Program for your Professional Services Team

Author thumbnail

There is no time where mentoring may be more important within Professional Services. As many firms have cut back on tangible expenses such a professional development and training, it takes little if anything from the budget to foster a strong mentoring program. A good mentoring program insists on the greatest investment being in one’s time, both on the part of the mentor and the mentee ...Read More

Maximizing Performance in Your Professional Service Organization

Author thumbnail

Best practice is defined by the American Society of Quality (ASQ), the world’s leading authority on quality, as “A superior method or innovative practice that contributes to the improved performance of an organization, usually recognized as best by other peer organizations.” Technology companies face increased competition and challenges in the delivery of professional servi ...Read More

Strategies for Effective Partner Management

Author thumbnail

Many professional service organizations today depend on outside vendors and partners to carry out their service delivery activities. The decision to use partners to deliver services can be influenced by any number of factors including financial, resource, geographic or product related circumstances. In some instances, it may be more cost effective to go outside the organization to get a spec ...Read More

Do You Suffer From Be-Backs?

Author thumbnail

What is a “Be-Back”? Some time ago, I was on a routine sales call with the PS director of a global product company.  Once we were finished with the opening chit-chat, I asked the customary-and-generally-accepted-ice-breaker question:  ‘So, what keeps you up at night?” And, without hesitation, he said:  “Be-Backs.” Then, I sat there quietly f ...Read More

Software Products / Services... Can You Market and Sell One Without the Other?

Author thumbnail

Where is the focus in a software company?  Marketing and selling the product.  In a perfect world, revenue splits would be 80/20 product/service.  But you have to have a very mature/stable product - when was the last time you worked anywhere the product was mature AND stable?  If it is mature, then it is written in Assembler, and if it is stable, it is shrink-wrapped on t ...Read More

Services Packaging: The Hidden (and Key!) Process for Wildly Successful Services Engineering

Author thumbnail

Services engineering is a complex discipline, encompassing several distinct processes that often get intertwined in the minds of PS professionals. These processes include services development, services packaging, go-to-market (GTM), and portfolio management—activities that often span, and are led by, different disciplines (services marketing, services engineering, and/or services deliv ...Read More

Tips on Managing People

Author thumbnail

This article was authored by David Maister. 1) The Right Way to Give a Critique The worst thing you can do if you want to get somebody to listen to you is to criticize him or her. As human beings, we hate being criticized. When attacked we attack back. And we attack even when we are in the wrong. Right or wrong has nothing to do with it. Many of us fall into the trap of thinking, “I kn ...Read More

Managing Program Managers on Project Margin

Author thumbnail

Project margin is a key metric to manage in a services business.  Nothing gets to the issue of services profitability as quickly as project margin.  Often, project margin is measured and analyzed at Director levels and above.  Typically project margin information is not drilled down to the project team and more rarely, project program managers are not empowered to run their pr ...Read More

Turbo Charge Your Portfolio with Packaged Services - A Fundamental Building Block for Resource and Quality Management

Author thumbnail

The Case for Packaged Services Create powerful differentiation for your company while making the job of resource management easier at the same time - sounds like something worth doing!  For years, manufacturers have known that designing a product with the intent to build it in volume, paves the way to fatter margins, improved quality, lower costs, and more predictable resourcing.  ...Read More

The Client Satisfaction Formula

Author thumbnail

In my twenty-five years in professional services, I’ve seen plenty of troubled projects, dissatisfied clients, and burned out teams. And I’ve never seen a project where expectations got set perfectly during the sales process, and clients got exactly what they thought they would get. As a consulting manager, I tried for years to align expectations during the sales process. I wante ...Read More

Managing My Integrity

Author thumbnail

I’ve been thinking about integrity. Especially about how I handle those times when I haven’t accomplish what I said I would. I think of these as integrity breakdowns. Right now I’m managing a project team, and we haven’t fulfilled several of our commitments. We’ve had a lot of slippage. I’ve been feeling anxious and frustrated because the slippage has cont ...Read More

From Technology Advisor to Business Partner - The "Service as Software" Way

Author thumbnail

Face it - we consultants really want to develop deep relationships with our clients - and keep them coming back for more of our services.  One key way to do that is to develop industry best practices - demonstrating real depth in the industry of our clients.  Thus, we can become trusted business advisors rather than solely technology advisors. But sometimes, we are limited because ...Read More

Doing Business with the Japanese

Author thumbnail

When my wife and I saw “Lost in Translation,” she liked the movie, but didn’t like seeing it with me.  Now that’s not usually the case, I might add.  It’s just that I seemed to find parts of it funny (and laughed out loud) when no one else did.  A little nudge from her elbow suggesting I was out of sync with the rest of the audience made me wonder ...Read More

What Does it Mean to be a Mentor/Coach?

Author thumbnail

As a veteran of the corporate climb I grew up, like most of you, on hard work and little advice.  Early in any career you survive on pure will or youthful ignorance to succeed.  But as you stockpile the good, bad and ugly encounters in your repertoire, you begin to use your experience to help navigate not just your career but the careers of others.  Mentoring and coaching is a ...Read More

Fractions Are Your Friends - When It Comes to Resource Utilization, No Improvement Is Too Small

Author thumbnail

Q:  How do you eat an elephant? A:  One bite at a time. In a world of increasingly complex projects, constant competitive pressure, and diminishing margins, today’s Services leaders face unprecedented pressure to improve every facet of services delivery to drive profitability.  But with so many moving parts and limited bandwidth, the real question is “Which bite s ...Read More

Specialization or Commoditization - Meeting Business Agility Head On

Author thumbnail

According to CIO Magazine, “Companies worldwide are growth-oriented as never before. Their strategic priorities have shifted decisively over the past three years from controlling costs to pursuing new opportunities for revenue growth. To achieve such growth in the face of stiff global competition, business leaders also demand that their firms operate with much greater agility. They rel ...Read More

Does India Still Make Sense As the Offshoring Destination?

Author thumbnail

Recently there was a story in the press about a Silicon Valley software company pulling the plug on its Indian operation. They decided to close their entire development operation and bring it back to the U.S. Some others have closed up shop quietly. Nowadays, I am being asked this question with some regularity—“Salaries are raising fast in India; does India still make sense as t ...Read More

Making The Most of Your Time

Author thumbnail

You can’t manage time. You can only manage yourself. Successful people manage to get a lot more out of their time. Here are nine things that you can focus on next year to make the most out of your time. 1. Executing on your current projects flawlessly No excuses there. None of the other items in the list matter if you keep breaking promises and go south on your commitments. 2. Strength ...Read More

Services Marketing: How to Get What You Need from Your Marketing Organization

Author thumbnail

If I had a nickel for every time a professional services organization told me it needed marketing support but just wasn’t getting it, I could retire. Okay, perhaps not retire, but at least I could buy a round of macchiatos at Starbucks for everyone in the office. Everyone in services believes marketing is one of the key elements to growing the services business, but everyone defines ma ...Read More

A Primer for Global Resource Management

Author thumbnail

Introduction Growing competition fueled by globalization of the economy is putting unprecedented pressure on service providers to rapidly innovate in many aspects of service delivery.  Effectively and efficiently sourcing and managing resources globally is the new high water mark for the industry.  The inherent complexity of managing large and diverse populations of employees acros ...Read More

Five Steps to a Successful PSA Deployment

Author thumbnail

Now that you’ve decided to deploy Professional Services Automation (PSA) software, you can be sure that your service projects will run efficiently and be more cost effective, right? Yes, but only if you plan properly. While PSA software helps project-based organizations better manage and plan their service offerings, it still must be deployed properly to meet your organization’s ...Read More

What Does it Mean to be Focused?

Author thumbnail

To achieve results, focus can be a good thing. But I know that sometimes I get so focused on results that I don’t notice what’s going on around me. I get such tunnel vision that people begin to show up as obstacles, not as sources of help. We all suffer sometimes from the tyranny of the to-do list. In our efforts to complete a task, we sometimes put the task before the people we& ...Read More

"I'd Work With That Person Anytime!" Why Your Clients Trust You (And Why They Don't)

Author thumbnail

A while back I was having lunch with a former client who had become a colleague and friend. We were discussing a project we had both been involved in when the conversation turned to one of the consultants who was working on the project and had been requested by my former client to be removed from the project. Turns out that the consultant’s expertise was needed elsewhere and was no lon ...Read More

Resource Planning for the Small and Mid-Sized Service Organizations

Author thumbnail

If you’re like most SMB Professional Services Organizations (PSOs), you’ve probably got a good handle on things like utilization rates, average billing rate, profit per project, and revenue per resource. These metrics are widely used across all PSOs and are relatively easy to capture with any Professional Services software tool. The problem with only focusing on these metrics is ...Read More

First and Foremost

Author thumbnail

I suspect everyone in business believes in setting priorities. And yet we often overlook our most important responsibility. I'm pretty good at setting priorities, if I say so myself. I’ve mastered a host of techniques for figuring out what results are most important, which tasks are most urgent. So I usually know what I ought to be working on. Read More

Have a Nice Day

Author thumbnail

How do you feel towards your work at this moment? I’ve known a lot of people who drag themselves to work each day because they have to, not because they want to. They just keep on keeping on, because they don’t know what else to do. If you sometimes feel that way about your work, here’s a story that may remind you how to do the most important thing in life. --- I walked i ...Read More

I Don't Know What Will Happen Next

Author thumbnail

I’m in an airplane at 36,000 feet, all my senses on high alert. I’m acutely aware I don’t know what will happen next. How do you react at times like these? Some people get scared. Adrenaline floods their systems. Their hearts pound. They breath faster. Others have a totally different experience. They get excited. And their adrenaline flows, their hearts speed up, their bre ...Read More

The World at Your Service

Author thumbnail

  The other day, driving out of New York City, I got caught in rush-hour traffic. As I merged my car into the stalled traffic at the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel, I felt a familiar surge of irritation. Irritation with the other drivers just for being there, and with myself for picking such a bad time to head home. But as I sat in the noise and heat and fumes of the tunnel, I had an &ldq ...Read More

Client Acquisition: Beyond Hunting and Gathering

Author thumbnail

Industry experts have defined business processes and procedures that consistently differentiate successful service companies from the competitive pack.  These critical areas include the overall management of the business itself (internal to the company) and three that are external, customer facing processes: client acquisition, project management, and client re-engagement.  Here we ...Read More

Clearing the Clogs in Your Emotional Plumbing

Author thumbnail

   I build my business by building relationships. Periodically I go through my address book and take stock of each relationship. I pay special attention to what I appreciate about each person. I call this “taking an appreciation inventory.” An appreciation inventory helps me look at each relationship in my work and in my life not in terms of what it can give me, but as ...Read More

Building Relationships That Make a Difference

Author thumbnail

A year ago I started my own consulting business. Finally! One of my first tasks was to make a list of all the people in my life who might want to hear about my new venture. The first fifty names came easily. Then I found myself struggling to come up with the next fifty. I realized I’d lost touch with most of the people I’d ever worked with. Even the people I cared for most. Even ...Read More

Awesome Service Recovery: The Quickest Route to Client Loyalty

Author thumbnail

One of the most powerful loyalty drivers available to professional services organizations comes from a situation most of us dread--screw ups--the implementation that never worked or the problem fix that never stuck. The things that result in a hassle for you and a headache for your client are marvelous opportunities to turn chicken feathers into chicken soup. Yet, even professional services ...Read More

Creating an Appreciation Epidemic

Author thumbnail

  In my last column I introduced you to The Appreciation Project. Its purpose is to increase the amount of appreciation in the world. Just for the fun of it. I described an experiment I used to observe how being appreciated affected me. I was so delighted by the results that I set out to share the experience with others. How would it be for a group of people if the amount of appreciat ...Read More

A Small Start to Something Big

Author thumbnail

  This spring I declared into existence The Appreciation Project. Its purpose is to increase the total quantity of appreciation in the world. Just for the fun of it.  I’d like to tell you how the project got started. It grew from a simple observation – that appreciation doesn’t exist until you express it. Merely to feel appreciative doesn’t add to the world ...Read More

Beyond Project Management - Getting to the Guts of PSA

Author thumbnail

We all know the drill - sell the gig, work with the client on delivery of project pieces, noted by milestones, and bill along the way - always trying to keep track of the time you allotted, the total cost of resources on the project, and the landmarks reached that determine when the client can be billed.. But project-driven companies - large or small - often get tangled in the knickers of th ...Read More

Be Wary of the Changing Expectations of Technical Experts

Author thumbnail

For organizations offering complex services and solutions, no one has more impact on getting and keeping customers than the technical expert. (1) One senior services executive talked about it in terms of competitive advantage: “Our lifeblood depends on the technical capabilities of our top personnel to differentiate our company from others in the industry. They understand our customers ...Read More

Creating Powerful Conversations

Author thumbnail

You're a consultant. You sell your experience. Your vision. Your ability to get clients to places they've never been before. But what do you actually do? You create powerful conversations. Whatever your specialty, there's only one way to sell your ideas and your vision - through conversation. Sales conversations break new ground and generate new possibilities. Negotiation conversations prod ...Read More