Raise Your Hand
One of the banes of time and materials consulting is over-running estimates. Many consulting companies win business by bidding low and then running change orders or cost overruns to extract more dollars out of the project for the originally agreed upon scope. It is endemic to the consulting business. Sometimes it is intentional behavior, and other times due to poor estimation. But the third reason is that many consulting companies don’t set up the culture and the organization to make their commitments attainable and achievable.
At our recent company meeting, BPMCAMP, we spent some time talking about our culture, and our focus on commitment. We talk about it all the time at BP3 and our team sweats the details to meet commitments to each other and our customers. But sometimes as you work on a project you aren’t aware of how well your colleagues on other projects might be living the same principles you are on yours, so I took them through a demonstration of the power of many people individually doing the right things… and how it compounds and builds on itself.
At BPMCAMP, I asked our team to raise their hands if they had worked on a project that had a change order in order to deliver the original scope, within the last year. In other words: had they worked on a project where we failed to live up to our original estimate. Not a single hand went up. When I asked them to rewind the clock to two years, or three, still no hands in the air.
So think about that for a minute. At BP3, our team is delivering within our budgets. New statements of work are coming for new scope, not old scope. The consistency is such that it is obvious across the whole team, over several calendar years. It’s unheard of in my prior experience in professional services.
We didn’t get there overnight. We made our share of mistakes in the early years as we built our business. But those mistakes were the teachable moments that caused us to grow into an organization that helps us all meet our commitments to our customers. And to each other.
But I didn’t stop there. I asked our customers to raise their hands if they had ever gotten a change order from us that wasn’t for new work and scope – and not a single customer raised their hand. And this is why I love working for my team and customers at BP3 every day. I’m proud of our services team and the good work they do every day all over the world for our customers. To my services team: thank you!