Transitioning Matrix to Team Organization Structure

When our team grew our matrix structure met significant challenges. Instead of adding more functional managers or additional management layers I decided to extend management responsibilities horizontally. We pulled together comprehensive cross-functional teams, assigned teams to the same projects, and measured team performance (over individual performance). Within 3 months we witnessed a measurable improvement in quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

The organizational structure guides the operation of day to day activities. It is one of the pillars of organization design. It represents the formal guidelines around communication and collaboration.

mckinsey 7s model organization design
McKinsey 7s Model of Organization Design

This article is to share my recent experience and observations, and the conclusions they’ve led me to.

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Business Model for the Professional Service Firm

This post is part of the series: Managing the Professional Service Firm.

Managers of professional service firms face many challenges. This series attempts to provide a helpful collection of resources, concepts, and frameworks for understanding and addressing them.

The business model answers the question, “How do we create value for our customers and our firm?”

Value = BenefitsCosts

The purpose of this article is to canvas the the business model of the professional service firm. This method identifies the key partners, activities, resources, value propositions, customer relationships, channels, customer segments, cost structures, and revenue streams that make up the business model in a concise and easy to understand method.

The business model canvas — as opposed to the traditional, intricate business plan — helps organizations conduct structured, tangible, and strategic conversations around new businesses or existing ones. Leading global companies like GE, P&G, and Nestlé use the canvas to manage strategy or create new growth engines, while start-ups use it in their search for the right business model. The canvas’s main objective is to help companies move beyond product-centric thinking and towards business model thinking.
Alexander Osterwalder, HBR

The business model canvas helps us to define the strategy. Picking markets, target clients, differentiators and services based on a clear and easily understood strategy is invaluable in getting everyone in the firm headed in the right direction. Without a well-conceived strategy everything else suffers.

Definition: The Professional Service Firm (PSF)

One of my favorite reads on professional service is by David Maister; the following definitions are from his book Managing the Professional Service Firm:

A professional service firm (PSF) is a firm in which professional skills form the basis of its offering to customers. Examples of such PSFs are lawyers, consultants and IT service firms.

Two aspects of professional work create the special management challenges of PSFs:

  • Customization. Professional services require a high degree of customization, so that approaches from the industrial or mass consumer sectors, based on the standardization, supervision and marketing of repetitive tasks and products are difficult to apply.
  • Client contact. Most professional services have a strong component of face-to-face interaction with the client.

In order to meet these challenges, a professional service firm must hire and retain highly skilled individuals, the firm’s talents. This means that the PSF must actively compete in two markets simultaneously: the product market for its services, and the factor market for its productive resources, the professional work force.

David Maister, Managing the Professional Service Firm

Modeling the Professional Service Firm

The following is a breakdown of the professional service firm into the business model canvas components. There are distinct differences between a service firm and other business models like manufacturing. This article highlights these differences and offers some tips.

Business Model Canvas of the Professional Service Firm

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Strategic Management Templates

This post is part of a series called Managing the Professional Service Firm.

Managers of professional service firms face many challenges. This series attempts to provide a helpful collection of resources, concepts, and frameworks for understanding and addressing them.

Strategic management templates are formats for brainstorming, plotting, and tracking ideas. Much of strategic planning is taking a complex and confusing situation and distilling it down to its critical components so that the problems become simple and solvable. Strategic planning templates help guide a leader through the process of forming a strategy.

Long form strategic plans provide detail and insight into the premises upon which the conclusion rests. Templates help summarize, and emphasize conclusions that are simple and easy to understand.

The purpose of this post is to present a few of the most popular templates and their benefits.

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Start With Why

This post is part of a series called Managing the Professional Service Firm.

Managers of professional service firms face many challenges. This series attempts to provide a helpful collection of resources, concepts, and frameworks for understanding and addressing them.

A problem well stated is a problem half-solved.
Charles Kettering

The first step towards effective leadership is absorbing the complexity and ambiguity of the situation. This will allow the leader form an effective strategy, inspire action on the part of others, and negotiate better deals.

This article seeks to provide a concise explanation of the start with why concept and the branching advantages it creates for a manager of a professional service firm. This article will form a foundation for the next several articles in this series.

Start With Why

To fully understand the challenge – and not simply jump into the fray – empowers the leader with the knowledge necessary to make the best decisions. Starting with Why is the first step in at least  three branches of knowledge important for the leader of an organization:

  1. Craft Effective Strategies
  2. Inspire Action on the Part of Others
  3. Negotiate Win-Win Outcomes

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Research Series – Managing The Professional Service Firm

This post is part of a series called Managing the Professional Service Firm.
Managers of professional service firms face many challenges. This series attempts to provide a helpful collection of resources, concepts, and frameworks for understanding and addressing them.

Contents

The series will cover many issues, seeking to provide concise summary of the most influential work on the subject of managing the Professional Service Firm (PSF). It will be peppered lightly with some of my own observations. When appropriate, articles in this series will seek to provide practical advice and useful resources.

managing-professional-service-firm2

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