Professional services operations

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Overview

Professional services sales and engagement leaders can improve their planning of large professional services projects by considering the expertise and experience of their delivery colleagues. Professional services planning can speed up when engagement information is properly collected from many employees. Business development and marketing leaders in professional services firms must position and differentiate consulting services well to make a dent in the market. Strategic planning doesn’t necessarily have to include the productization of the service portfolio.

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Form structure

Section selection section

  • Which client/lead/prospect and engagement are you referring to?
  • Which kind of task do you want to do?
  • Who's the interviewee?
  • Is this a test form response?

Client analysis section

  • Why did the client agree to this meeting?
  • What’s the client’s current challenge?
  • How did the client try to solve his/her current challenge?
  • Which client stakeholders are involved in this challenge?
  • Which thoughts does the client have on your organization’s solutions to solve his/her challenge?
  • What are the client’s ideas for the next steps?
  • What information does the client need as a follow-up?
  • What can your organization do to drive this engagement?
  • What’s the client’s budget for this engagement?
  • What’s the timeframe to buy your solution?
  • Who’s the client’s final decision-maker?
  • How can you support the client in convincing the final decision-maker?

Engagement approach section

  • What’s the mission?
  • What’s the delivery methodology?
  • What are the external frameworks to be used?
  • What’s the related core knowledge?
  • What are the related core skills?
  • What’s your related experience?
  • What are the thought leadership components?
  • Who are comparable clients?
  • What are the comparable past solutions for these clients?

Solution design section

  • What are typical project deliverables/milestones?
  • What are the typical budget components of comparable engagements?
  • What are team collaboration practices for comparable engagements?
  • What are the success criteria of comparable engagements?
  • What are the solution components to be developed?
  • What are the technology solutions to be used?
  • What are possible technology implementation practices?
  • What are possible project management practices?
  • What are possible retrospective practices to support the project's success?
  • What are the unique value proposition components?
  • What are the offering monopoly components?

Outcomes design section

  • What’s the job to be done?
  • What are the outcomes to be achieved?

Deliverables design section

  • What are the written reports to be created?
  • What’s the technology to be implemented?
  • What’s the technology to be developed?
  • What’s the knowledge transferred to the client?
  • What’s the required alignment between the client stakeholders?
  • What are the other deliverables to be delivered?

Milestones design section

  • What are the milestones to be delivered?
  • What do you deliver continually?

Financial planning section

  • What are the components of proposal A (cost-efficient)?
  • What are the components of proposal B (default; recommendation)?
  • What are the components of proposal C (high-end)?
  • What are possible add-ons?
  • What’s the proposed expense policy?
  • What are the financial success criteria?

Client references section

  • What are possible client references?

Terms and conditions section

  • What are the payment terms?
  • What are the sign-off/purchase practices?
  • What’s the period of validity of our proposal?
  • What’s the satisfaction guarantee?

Team setup section

  • Who is the client/account manager/partner?
  • Who’s the engagement leader?
  • Who are the business development contributors?
  • Who’s the sales SPOC?
  • What are the team requirements?
  • Who are the delivery team members?

External staffing section

  • What external people do weyou need to deliver this engagement?
  • What’s the external people staffing process?
  • What’s the contract signing process?
  • Which recruiters, staffing firms, and online staffing platforms do you want to use?
  • What pay level can you offer to external people?
  • What general knowledge, experiences, and skills do you need?
  • What are the knowledge transfer practices from internal to external people?
  • What are the knowledge transfer practices from external to internal people?

Engagement preparation section

  • What are engagement people preparation practices?
  • What are the capabilities our people have to learn?
  • What are the knowledge distribution practices?
  • What are the needed documents for engagement preparation?

Project planning section

  • What project planning methodology do you want to use?
  • What project planning software yo you want to use?
  • What’s a possible project planning template?
  • What’s the focus at planning this project?

Agile backlog section

  • What agile methodology do you want to use?
  • What agile planning software do you want to use?
  • Who is the selected agile facilitator? (e.g., Scrum Master)
  • What are the agile backlog structure practices?
  • What are the backlog item structure practices?
  • What’s the right number of project backlog items before project kick-off?

On-site delivery preparation section

  • What’s the standard itinerary?
  • What’s the hotel for the delivery team?
  • What are the recommended discount cards for the delivery team?
  • What are the negotiated group rates?
  • What are the expense-charging practices?

Time tracking approach section

  • What’s the billing model?
  • What are the time-tracking practices?
  • What are the billable time increments?
  • What software tool is in place for time tracking?
  • Who approves the time tracking?

Primary problem section

  • What are the organizational problems?
  • Which problem categories are visible?
  • Which problems are unusual compared to other organizations?
  • Which problems could be hidden underneath the currently visible challenges?
  • Why’s a detailed problem analysis (not) necessary in this case?

Reinventing-the-wheel problem section

  • What’s the reinventing-the-wheel problem in this chase?
  • How relevant is the reinvention problem compared to the “visible” problem?
  • Why doesn’t the client see the reinvention problem?
  • What’s the general state of the reinvention discussion?
  • What were previous attempts to solve the reinvention problem?

People problem section

  • What’s the organizational culture analysis?
  • What are the cultural problems?
  • What’s the organizational culture goal?
  • What’s the organizational culture change readiness?
  • What were previous organizational culture change attempts?

Process problem section

  • What’s the state of process management in this organization?
  • What are typical process management problems?
  • What’s the process management target state?
  • What are process management success stories?
  • What were previous process management improvement attempts?

Technology problem section

  • What’s the state of technology use and innovation?
  • What are the technology use and innovation problems?
  • What’s the technology use and innovation goal?
  • What are technology innovation success stories?
  • What were previous technology innovation attempts?

Innovation problem section

  • What’s the state of organizational innovation?
  • What are the organizational innovation problems?
  • What’s the organizational innovation goal?
  • What are organizational innovation success stories?
  • What were previous organizational innovation attempts?

Systematization problem section

  • What’s the state of work systematization/standardization?
  • What are the work systematization/standardization problems?
  • What’s the work systematization/standardization goal?
  • What are work systematization/standardization success stories?
  • What were previous work systematization/standardization attempts?

Automation problem section

  • What’s the state of work automation?
  • What are the work automation problems?
  • What’s the work automation goal?
  • What are work automation success stories?
  • What were previous work automation attempts?

Scope requirements section

  • What are this engagement’s scope requirements?
  • What’s out of scope for this engagement?
  • What’s different about the scope requirements compared to similar client engagements in the past?
  • What’s the approach to satisfy the scope requirements?
  • What endangers satisfying the client’s scope requirements?

Time requirements section

  • What are this engagement’s schedule requirements?
  • What’s out of schedule for this engagement?
  • What’s different about the schedule requirements compared to similar client engagements in the past?
  • What’s the approach to satisfy the schedule requirements?
  • What endangers satisfying the client’s schedule requirements?

Budget requirements section

  • What are this engagement’s budget requirements?
  • What’s out of budget for this engagement?
  • What’s different about the budget requirements compared to similar client engagements in the past?
  • What’s the approach to satisfy the budget requirements?
  • What endangers satisfying the client’s budget requirements?

Outcomes requirements section

  • What are this engagement’s outcome requirements?
  • Which outcomes should this engagement not achieve?
  • What’s different about the outcome requirements compared to similar client engagements in the past?
  • What’s the approach to satisfy the outcome requirements?
  • What endangers satisfying the client’s outcome requirements?

Functional requirements section

  • What are this engagement’s functional requirements?
  • Which features aren’t necessary for this engagement?
  • What’s different about the functional requirements compared to similar client engagements in the past?
  • What’s the approach to satisfy the functional requirements?
  • What endangers satisfying the client’s functional requirements?

Process requirements section

  • What are this engagement’s process requirements?
  • Which process improvements aren’t necessary for this engagement?
  • What’s different about the process requirements compared to similar client engagements in the past?
  • What’s the approach to satisfy the process requirements?
  • What endangers satisfying the client’s process requirements?

Political requirements section

  • What are this engagement’s political requirements?
  • Which political actions aren’t necessary for this engagement?
  • What’s different about the political requirements compared to similar client engagements in the past?
  • What’s the approach to satisfy the political requirements?
  • What endangers satisfying the client’s political requirements?

Financial requirements section

  • What are this engagement’s financial requirements?
  • Which financial outcomes aren’t necessary for this engagement?
  • What’s different about the financial requirements compared to similar client engagements in the past?
  • What’s the approach to satisfy the financial requirements?
  • What endangers satisfying the client’s financial requirements?

Organizational change requirements section

  • What are this engagement’s organizational change requirements?
  • Which organizational changes aren’t necessary for this engagement?
  • What’s different about the organizational change requirements compared to similar client engagements in the past?
  • What’s the approach to satisfy the organizational change requirements?
  • What endangers satisfying the client’s organizational change requirements?

Engagement components section

  • What are the necessary engagement components?
  • What are the optional engagement components?
  • What are the non-required engagement components?
  • What makes this engagement's structure different from similar engagements in the past?

Elicitation phase section

  • What’s the elicitation phase’s goal?
  • What‘s the elicitation phase’s input?
  • What’s the elicitation phase’s output?
  • What are the elicitation phase’s outcomes?
  • What are the elicitation phase’s dangers?

Analysis phase section

  • What’s the analysis phase’s goal?
  • What‘s the analysis phase’s input?
  • What’s the analysis phase’s output?
  • What are the analysis phase’s outcomes?
  • What are the analysis phase’s dangers?

Analysis phase section

  • What’s the planning phase’s goal?
  • What‘s the planning phase’s input?
  • What’s the planning phase’s output?
  • What are the planning phase’s outcomes?
  • What are the planning phase’s dangers?

Building phase section

  • What’s the build phase’s goal?
  • What‘s the build phase’s input?
  • What’s the build phase’s output?
  • What are the build phase’s outcomes?
  • What are the build phase’s dangers?

Change phase section

  • What’s the change phase’s goal?
  • What‘s the change phase’s input?
  • What’s the change phase’s output?
  • What are the change phase’s outcomes?
  • What are the change phase’s dangers?

Change phase section

  • What’s the change phase’s goal?
  • What‘s the change phase’s input?
  • What’s the change phase’s output?
  • What are the change phase’s outcomes?
  • What are the change phase’s dangers?

Closure phase section

  • What’s the closure phase’s goal?
  • What‘s the closure phase’s input?
  • What’s the closure phase’s output?
  • What are the closure phase’s outcomes?
  • What are the closure phase’s dangers?

Running phase section

  • What’s the run phase’s goal?
  • What‘s the run phase’s input?
  • What’s the run phase’s output?
  • What are the run phase’s outcomes?
  • What are the run phase’s dangers?

Dismantling phase section

  • What’s the dismantling phase’s goal?
  • What‘s the dismantling phase’s input?
  • What’s the dismantling phase’s output?
  • What are the dismantling phase’s outcomes?
  • What are the dismantling phase’s dangers?

Information delivery section

  • What information does the customer request?
  • What’s the intention behind the information request?
  • Who will receive the information?
  • What’s the use case of the information?
  • What information can the team research quickly?
  • What’s the appropriate information structure?

Solution for problem form

  • What’s your customer’s problem?
  • What’s the problem’s context?
  • What’s your approach to analyzing the problem?
  • What are past attempts to analyze the problem?
  • What’s the problem’s root cause?
  • What are possible solutions?
  • What are alternative problems?

Diagnosis section

  • What’s your diagnosis/analysis approach?
  • What’s the job-to-be-one to be analyzed?
  • What are the customer's challenges to getting the job done?
  • What’s the problem’s root cause?
  • What are the mistakes of the past of the customer?
  • What's the business analysis framework we use?
  • What are the analysis’ steps?

Recommendation section

  • What’s your recommendation?
  • What are the expected outcomes?
  • What are the experiences of other businesses to be compared?
  • Who are the stakeholders to be involved?
  • How do you communicate your findings?
  • What is the financial impact of our recommendation?

Implementation section

  • What’s the overall implementation approach?
  • What are the main tasks for implementation?
  • Who are the stakeholders?
  • What are the technology solutions to be implemented?
  • What are the management practices to be adopted?
  • What are other things to be implemented/adopted?

Consensus and commitment section

  • Who’s the client sponsor?
  • Who’s the client's core team?
  • Who are the client stakeholders?
  • What are the obstacles to commitment?
  • What are the obstacles to consensus?
  • What is your argumentative data?
  • Which change management framework do you use?

Customer learning section

  • What are the client’s learning needs?
  • What’s the client learning approach?
  • What’s your information-sharing approach?
  • What’s your knowledge-sharing approach?
  • Who are the internal learning facilitators?
  • How do you recycle information and knowledge?

Organizational effectiveness section

  • What’s the outlook for long-term change?
  • What’s the long-term vision?
  • What is the long-term mission?
  • How do you increase effectiveness?
  • How do you increase efficiency?
  • How do you increase sustainability?

Follow-up section

  • How do you sell additional solutions?
  • How do you decide what to sell to whom?
  • What do you want to sell?
  • What technology development/implementation/adoption do you want to sell?
  • What operations outsourcing do you want to sell?
  • What training/learning support do you want to sell?

Up-selling section

  • Who else could be interested in your solutions?
  • How can you increase the hours to sell (hourly billing)?
  • How can you increase the number of decisions to be made?
  • How can you sell more technology?
  • How can you increase the degree of stakeholder alignment?
  • How can you sell more operational outsourcing?

Cross-selling section

  • What are related topics to sell?
  • Who are relevant customer stakeholders to talk to?
  • Who do you connect from your organization with people of the customer organization?
  • What content can you share with the customer?
  • What discussions can you initialize to get the ball rolling?

Project estimation improvement section

  • How do you improve your engagement/project plan in the future?
  • How do you improve your assumption-making in the future?
  • How do you improve your business analysis in the future?
  • How do you improve your initial questioning of the customer in the future?
  • How do you improve estimating your amount of work in the future?

Future systematization section

  • How do you systematize your engagement development?
  • How do you systematize your proposal writing?
  • How do you systematize your engagement pricing?
  • How do you systematize your engagement preparation?
  • How do you systematize your engagement delivery?
  • How do you systematize your organizational learning?
  • How do you systematize your feedback procedure?

Future standardization section

  • How do you standardize your engagement development?
  • How do you standardize your proposal writing?
  • How do you standardize your engagement pricing?
  • How do you standardize your engagement preparation?
  • How do you standardize your engagement delivery?
  • How do you standardize your organizational learning?
  • How do you standardize your feedback procedure?

Future modularization form

  • How do you modularize your engagement development?
  • How do you modularize your proposal writing?
  • How do you modularize your engagement pricing?
  • How do you modularize your engagement preparation?
  • How do you modularize your engagement delivery?
  • How do you modularize your organizational learning?
  • How do you modularize your feedback procedure?

Future automation form

  • How do you automate your engagement development?
  • How do you automate your proposal writing?
  • How do you automate your engagement pricing?
  • How do you automate your engagement preparation?
  • How do you automate your engagement delivery?
  • How do you automate your organizational learning?
  • How do you automate your feedback procedure?

Engagement development feedback form

  • How do you improve your thought leadership?
  • How do you improve your initial conversation?
  • How do you improve your stakeholder alignment?
  • How do you improve your experience demonstration?
  • How do you improve your RFP support?
  • How do you improve meeting the customer’s demands?

Proposal feedback list section

  • How do you improve your requirements gathering?
  • How do you improve the time to submit your proposal?
  • How do you improve your written proposal?
  • How do you improve your verbal proposal presentation?
  • How do you improve your engagement contract negotiations?
  • How do you improve your performance compared to competitors?

Preparation feedback section

  • How do you improve your people preparation?
  • How do you improve your stakeholder alignment?
  • How do you improve your engagement planning?
  • How do you improve your information gathering?
  • How do you improve your communication of required information?

Delivery feedback section

  • How do you improve providing requested information?
  • How do you improve your solutions to the given problem?
  • How do you improve your diagnosis to redefine the problem?
  • How do you improve your recommendation provision?
  • How do you improve your implementation assistance?
  • How do you improve your consensus and commitment building?
  • How do you improve your client learning facilitation?
  • How do you improve your organizational effectiveness improvement?

Pricing feedback section

  • What do you think about your proposal procedure?
  • What do you think about your pricing?
  • What do you think about your effectiveness?
  • What do you think about your efficiency?
  • What do you think about your sustainability?
  • What do you think about your performance relative to competitors?

Referral feedback section

  • Who is interested in your services?
  • Who is interested in your knowledge?
  • Who needs "helping hands"?
  • Who wants to outsource specific tasks/jobs?
  • Who needs a trusted advisor?

Customer reference section

  • How do you let people contact you?
  • How do you let people contact your internal subject matter experts?
  • How do you connect on social media?
  • How do you share your engagement on social media?
  • How do you create publicly available best practices?
  • How do you create a case study of your engagement?