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Implementing Value Pricing: A Radical Business Model for Professional Firms by Ronald J. Baker

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CHAPTER 33

Step Six: Proper Project Management

Think of the end before the beginning.

—Leonardo da Vinci

Try this experiment: The following Roman-numeral equation is comprised of ten sticks, but it is also incorrect. Try to correct the equation by moving as few of the sticks as possible:

c33ue001

Did you begin immediately moving sticks around? Perhaps you moved only one and came up with X + I = XI. But as Matthew E. May points out in is book The Elegant Solution, you satisficed. He argues for the elegant solution: “Zero. You don’t need to move a single stick. Turn the book upside down” (May 2006: 152).

When professional firms are engaged, they have a tendency to jump right to the scope of work, without spending enough time on diagnosing and planning the engagement. Nor do they spend enough time in conversation with the customer on the scope of benefits. My VeraSage colleague Ed Kless offers this admonition: “Prescription before diagnoses is malpractice.”

Many professional firms are finally beginning to recognize one of the gaps in their competencies, in addition to pricing—project management. Even law firms are beginning to invest in this skill, especially with the increasing use of alternative pricing engagements. Yet an important point needs to be made:

Pricing is not project management.

The factory foreman at Toyota may be an expert in project management, planning the just-in-time inventory, ...

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