A project's success is not defined by time or budget!

August 27, 2019

If consultants and implementation teams cared about customer success, we'd remove the idea of "on time and on budget" as a project's primary measure of success! By adopting it, we've enslaved ourselves to the project's budget and time constraints rather than resolving the customer's business challenges.

Field-based project teams translate "on time and on budget" into behaviors that we know lead to bad project outcomes, not success. When the focus is "on time", they hurry to make a deadline despite the deliverable's questionable quality. A focus "on budget", creates sensitivity around change which, as we discover more about the project's true challenges, is the precise thing we need to adjust our course accordingly.

In an industry based solely on the transformation of customer dreams into business reality, we must have something better.

Fixing the Downward Spiral in Professional Services

July 08, 2019

Too many projects. Not enough resources. High attrition. Low morale and low reputation both inside and outside of the company. While the effects of the professional services downward spiral are easy to identify, it’s the root causes that are difficult to see. Attempts to improve resource management or project oversight help, but they continue to mask the real issues of operational inefficiency in our basic customer-facing delivery models.

What to do about Project Assassins

June 10, 2019

This week, I was asked a great question during a training session, “What do you do if you start a project and the customer already has a negative opinion of you?”

Professional Services Value and the Collective Wisdom Race

May 19, 2019

On this week’s Rethinking Professional Services, we discussed Rethinking Knowledge Management. My passion for this topic is driven by a recognition that it is frequently undervalued. Many services teams do not realize that just like a product strives to create functional differentiation, professional services teams must also do the same.

While writing The Seven Principles of Professional Services, I intended to explain the value customers see in paying for professional services by developing an illustrative equation.

Professional Services Value (PSV) = Knowledge + Experience + Skills

While for illustrative purposes only, the equation surprisingly identified some interesting facts about the use of “Knowledge” as an asset in professional services.

Six Rules for Creating a Packaged Service

May 09, 2019


I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t being asked to “package” services. On last week’s Rethinking Professional Services, we harnessed successful and unsuccessful experiences to Rethink Packaged Services. Below, is a set of rules that can be applied to help push the chances of success in our favor. 

Are "On Hold" Projects Killing You?

April 19, 2019

This week on Rethinking Professional Services we continued our focus on customer-facing negotiations. One specific scenario, that of placing projects “on hold”, was directly linked to an eventual decrease in billable utilization and employee satisfaction. In this article I review the slippery slope that gets us into this situation as well as a strategy for getting out of it for good.

Professional Services Negotiations

April 08, 2019

Finding the Win-Win in ALL Customer-Facing Situations

This week on Rethinking Professional Services we tackled Rethinking Customer Negotiations (watch replay). In doing so I proposed a number of tricky customer-specific situations such as fixed fee versus time and materials, design stage sign- off and user acceptance.  While preparing for the webinar I discovered something interesting.

Consultant Engagement is not Employee Engagement

March 21, 2019

One of the most requested topics for the Rethinking Professional Services webinar has been that of Consultant Skills Development. Today's blog is going to concentrate on one element of that topic...Consultant Engagement.

Sales and Professional Services: Why do they clash so needlessly?

March 07, 2019

In this week's Rethinking Professional Services (watch replay or register) we looked at how we can optimize professional services teams within software companies. This was such a broad topic that I won't try and summarize all of it, but instead focus on one key aspect. How do we define the role of professional services within software companies such that sales and professional services can thrive?

Selling Professional Services

February 25, 2019

As a part of our Rethinking Professional Services Webinar Series, we address how we sell services. Below is a blog summary of the webinar.

Selling is Hard & Professional Services is Hard

I spent far too much of my early professional services days ruining deals. I've never claimed to be good at selling when I first started. I had to learn it. My dad was a salesman and, like most kids, I didn't pay a lot of attention to what he was trying to tell me because he sold car parts and not computer games. The fact is, that I missed out on some pretty valuable stuff. Fast forward into my first 7 years in the service delivery business and I learned the hard way. You close deals or you die.