How we ensure consulting project success before we even meet our clients


Want to read more about how Seabourne approaches client work? This article is for you.

_Want to start a new data project? Data Kickstart service can help. Contact us today to start a conversation and learn._

 
 

We love to delight clients. We have found that traditional conceptions of what consulting, technology, software development and management consulting are, often get in the way. So we developed our own delivery methodology and tools to support this approach.

Focus on collaboration and communication

They key breakthrough in route to developing Seabourne’s unique approach was to recognize that:

  • Fully agile development is only possible with ongoing funding and unlimited time like in a product development roadmap.
  • Predictable client projects require a fixed cost, and a fixed delivery date.
  • Project success if measured by client goals doesn’t necessarily require a set deliverable. It requires shared client/consultant stakes towards the client business outcomes.
  • Is client bliss about symbiosis?

    We have developed a very agile but predictable approach to service delivery. We have developed a hybrid project delivery methodology which associates the best of Agile/Scrum approaches with aspects of the more control-oriented methods like PMP or PRINCE2. This method affords us to offer clients the best of both worlds as long as they are willing to work collaboratively and to engage in frequent communication.

    The key principles which affect how we deliver but also the way we engage with clients during the sales stage of an engagement are:

    • Project success goals are client’s business goals, not technology deliverables
    • Deliver in small increments (projects of 3 to 6 months maximum): long projects outcomes are too hard to predict. Long projects can be broken into smaller ones.
    • Every project results in one or more tangible business deliverables, not technology milestones: clients can only be effective stakeholders if they have a real stake in project success in the first place.
    • We manage risks, timeline and resources aggressively: the only way to change course as you learn what’s going to work best for clients is to be conservative with how you spend client resources and to keep rack of risks to client success
    • We break the work in short sprints of a week or two maximum
    • We communicate with clients often at all levels of the delivery team: programmers or designers are not shielded from client calls or client questions

    Turning methodology into client success

    Client engagements usually come with fixed costs and/or timelines. These projects are therefore better managed with a control-oriented methodology like PMP or PRINCE2. This said, these methods are usually made for very large, technically rigid (building, aerospace, etc.) environment. Software, content, management consulting or strategy practices all offer more flexibility because there is a lot of intangibles where development performance can vary greatly (ie. 10x developers) depending on conditions, skills, client needs, project history, expertise, etc.

    Great principles make for great bog post material. But making this work in a diverse environment where clients, challenges, team members, tools and technologies can change is an operational challenge. With some great successes under our belt, we have learned we cannot rest on our laurels. We constantly reflect on what we can improve and how to achieve our clients goals.

    Making the above principles work for out clients requires sophistication and tools at all levels of the operation: hiring, talent management, metrics, reporting, project tools and processes, sales approaches and client relationship management. in the processes and We strongly believe in this approach because we see it as the only way to deliver fast, predictable results. And we know our clients love that capability.

    Next steps: How to experience Seabourne’s approach {#lack_of_insight}

    At Seabourne, we help non-profits, businesses and government agencies address these very issues every day. Starting a new data project is never easy because there are some complexities (some described above) that need to be addressed early on. Experts can help put you on the right track to success. We have developed ways to make that process easy, affordable and risk-free. The Data Kickstart service (click here for our brochure) is designed to deliver fast results with an easy to procure model: buy as many two-week cycles as you need to get the job done. Every customer gets access to our team of experts, including a data analyst, an engineer, and a senior data scientist.

    Contact us today to start a conversation and learn.