Why do consulting projects succeed? Copy

  • Senior client commitment & buy in (Strong Sponsors)
  • Clear understanding of client challenges, needs and expectations
  • Clearly defined scope, terms of reference
  • Clearly defined and well executed roles and responsibilities
  • Adoption of key account management principles and practices
  • Rigorous project, quality and document management/integration across all project phases
  • Balanced and focused approach to project administration and process/deliverables management (monitoring, evaluation and corrective action)
  • Overall commitment to excellence and client satisfaction/success

Why Do Consulting Projects Fail?

Qualification and initiation phases

  • Reason for employing consultants not clear
  • Poor recognition of who the client is
  • Poor understanding of the business context
  • Anticipated outcomes and benefits either not explicitly stated
  • Poor qualification of real vs. stated/perceived needs
  • Unrealistic or misunderstood goals, expectations and deadlines
  • Excessive hidden agendas and political manipulation

Planning and Execution Phases

  • Lack of a Project Charter/planning
  • Lack of a kick-off meeting
  • Project stakeholders not properly identified
  • Lack of clear role and responsibility definitions
  • Lack of effective project planning and management
  • Lack of continuity between sales team & consultants
  • Usage of inexperienced consultants
  • Usage of preconceived solutions
  • Cross functional implications and inter-dependencies not considered (systems perspective)
  • Poor internal communication
  • Mismatch of corporate cultures
  • Resistance to change underestimated
  • Poor quality management
  • Poor monitoring, evaluation and corrective action
  • Poor change management

Securing Follow on work

This is also called on selling or recycling. Whatever it is called, it is a critical element of successful consulting, because it builds on the success of the engagement that has been completed and the relationships that have been established with the key client decision makers.

This depends on:

  • Quality of approach to current and past projects
  • Quality of work products and management presentations
  • Level of adherence to agreed performance levels
  • Quality of interaction and relationships with client management and staff
  • Commitment to client satisfaction and success


  • Assignment success is a shared responsibility.
  • Clear statement of requirements
  • Monitoring throughout the lifecycle
  • Partnership approach
  • Clear measurement of results against expectations and agreement
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