How important is documenting your consulting processes? I don't plan to write a book, nor are my clients the same from year to year.
In most cases, you would advise your clients to follow evidence-based management, so why wouldn't you do the same for your own practice? Even though many of our engagements are designed for each client, there are many similarities in our approach, execution and follow up. Over the years, whether we were or are in a large firm, small firm, internal practice or as an independent (often most of the above) we will develop our own best practices. Documenting these approaches allows us to jumpstart new engagements, bypassing most of the design phase. A "playbook" of project templates, evaluation formats, checklists and resources is one way you build differentiation and efficiency.
Reviewing your past practices, combined with regular reading and research about consulting and management, can lead you to steady improvement in your consulting. One place where you generate some of the most dynamic advances in your best practices is when you work with other consultants. Working with the same team may polish your approach, but working with other firms in partnership is where you test alternative approaches. It's like having in-house R&D. Tip:
Create a hardcopy loose-leaf notebook or electronic equivalent of practice management, marketing and engagement processes. If you haven't already done so, start building these with generic versions of each project's documents. Every time you conclude a project stage, look at how you might adapt or improve your playbooks. This might mean adapting an existing component or adding an alternative (e.g., marketing approaches for very different types of clients, process flows for different industries).© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA