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Managing the Quality of

Consulting Engagement

Introduction
Project evaluation and controls provide the means
of successfully administering the work plan .
The specific objectives of project evaluation and controls are:
1. To provide assurance that the project is on schedule and within
budget.
2. To communicate the exact project status of all concerned personnel.
3. To ensure that a quality product will be implemented.

Introduction
The project controls generally include the following:

Administrative controls

Time reporting procedures

Independent quality assurance reviews

Administrative Controls

It is formed at the organizational stage of the project to


provide overall guidance and control to the
implementation process.

The administrative framework is organized which should


include individuals who have direct interest in the quality
of the final product.

Size of the project: Client

Administrative Controls
The framework would normally consists of:
1.

One or more client management committees,


with representatives from the user areas

2.

The top (executive) management

3.

Information processing services department

Administrative Controls

Project steering committee


maintains direct control over the project.

should be comprised of senior management from each area


of the client organization that is affected by the system
project.

Project leader and manager of the information processing


services department.

Management advisory committee coordinates the


activities of the information processing services
department.

Administrative Controls

Project steering committee


1.

Exercise control over all costs and benefits


pertaining to the development and operation of
the system spanned by the project.

2.

Monitors project activities to ensure that all


changes to the system design are made only with
proper approval and that all policy changes are
observed.

3.

Holds regularly scheduled status meetings to carry


out the monitoring responsibilities. Special
meetings are also held when specific problems of
significance arise.

Time Reporting and Analysis Procedures


Objectives:
1.

To provide project management with information


necessary for planning, administering and controlling
the project.

2.

To prepare and control the project work program


updates.

3.

To assist the project leader in preparing management


status reports.

4.

To account for all time used on the project by the


team members.

Time Reporting and Analysis Procedures


Causes of variances:

Improper application of guidelines in making the


estimate

Improper communication of task scopes and objectives

Inappropriate assignment of tasks to personnel (people


who are either overqualified or underqualified for the
assigned tasks)

Unexpected changes to task scopes and objective

Unexpected difficulties related to availability or


functioning of project resources

Independent Quality Assurance Reviews


Objectives:
1.

The system satisfies all user requirements and is operable


on a day-to-day basis without assistance.

2.

The system is being developed within the time frame and


cost estimates originally agreed upon.

3.

The system employs satisfactory methods and techniques


that are within the sphere of competence of the majority
of client personnel.

4.

The presentation and format of all procedures,


documentations and coding are neat, well organized and in
conformance with established client standards.

Independent Quality Assurance Reviews

Independent Reviews to be performed by someone who


is not associated with the project and has a skill level at
least as high as of that project leader.

Quality Assurance Checklists contain a series of


questions concerning the quality of work performed and
should be prepared by the project supervisor responsible
for the work and reviewed by both the project leader and
independent reviewer.

Maintaining Controls Over Competence


and Service Quality

An operational definition of its practice scope, including a


list of services that it desires to provide.

A clear understanding of its clients, their requirements,


and the services that the firm might propose providing to
each.

The standards by which proposed services are to be


evaluated with respect to their suitability for delivery.

The criteria by which need personnel are to be recruited.

The programs for the achievement of needed staff


development.

Types of Controls

Preventive Controls (before-the-fact controls) establish


benchmarks of expected performance

Feedback Controls (after-the-fact controls) measure


actual performance and compare it with the expected
performance.

Three situations

Maintaining Controls Over Competence


and Service Quality

To ensure the maintenance of sound controls over


competence and quality of services of the consulting firm,
the following steps may be taken:
1.

Service Review to assess the consulting firms objectives,


offered services and record of competence in the provision
of service since the last review.

2.

Appoint Practice Director to establish responsibility for


practice competence and quality control. He should
propose practice goals and supervise the overall service
planning process and be responsible for practice conduct.

Maintaining Controls Over Competence


and Service Quality
3.

Appoint Service Coordinator to administer daily operations


related to the provision of management and consulting services.
Other responsibilities:
a)

Assign appropriate staff consultants to engagement after consultation


with managers-in-charge.

b)

Obtain positive evidence that the delivery of services on each


engagement is in accordance with firm policies.

c)

Pinpoint and report knowledge or skill deficiencies and recommend


staff development steps to correct the,.

d)

Coordinate all practice development activities, including the


screening of prospective engagement.

e)

Devise and administer a plan of staff training, consisting of both onthe-job and formal training courses.

Maintaining Controls Over Competence


and Service Quality
3.

Perform Engagement Analysis Information to be collected:


a)

Client, including name, address, service location, client control,


referral

b)

Engagement service classification code

c)

Other engagement with this client

d)

Staff consultant who were assigned to each engagement, their


tasks and hours spent on each task

e)

Total engagement hours, billed as well as those not billed

f)

Summary of other costs

g)

Closing date of engagement

h)

Engagement evaluation and recommended follow-up

Maintaining Controls Over Competence


and Service Quality
4.

Perform Staff Competence Evaluation Steps for evaluation:


a)

The evaluator should study the following pertaining to the staff


members being evaluated:
i.

Personnel file

ii.

File of engagement participation

iii.

File of competence and experience

b)

The evaluator should make certain that the engagement file fully
reflects all information concerning all engagements in which the
staff member participated.

c)

The evaluator should complete a competency evaluation checklist

d)

The evaluator should meet personally with the staff members to


discuss the evaluation itself.

Special Consideration for the Sole Practitioner


Operating as a Management Consultant
Self-Assessment

Make an autobiography.

List all areas of your special interest, achievement,


knowledge and personal satisfaction.

List all your skills.

List all your talents.

List all your attributes.

List all the skills and attributes you lack that you
believe are necessary for a consulting business.

Special Consideration for the Sole Practitioner


Operating as a Management Consultant

Self-Assessment

List the skills and attributes you lack related to being a consultant that you
believe you can improve.

State how the skills and attributes that you cannot improve affect your
consulting business

Speak to friends, relatives or family.

Increase your awareness of additional opportunities when it comes to different


resources.

Define the consulting service areas you would like to provide

Identify who you believe could be possible clients and why

Project how you would like to operate your consulting business.

List how you intend to market your services.