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#189: Making Your Recommendations Useful in the Long Run

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, December 03, 2009
Updated: Thursday, December 03, 2009
Clients vary in their requests for final project briefings and reports, both in terms of content and format. I don't like writing long reports and wonder how useful they are to the client anyway? If a client wants "everything" in the final report, how much is it worth pushing back.

This is certainly something to negotiate at the outset of the engagement. Some clients are OK with no report and a final briefing. Any final report should satisfy three criteria:
  • Present complete information about the client's condition and your recommendations.
  • Support your findings and recommendations with verified data and logic
  • Be clear and unambiguous as to how to use the recommendations
If you can achieve these three outcomes in a final briefing or through shadowing of client staff during the engagement, you may be able to not need a final report. In any case, discuss these requirements with your client, who may have others.

Tip: Remember in designing your final reports to consider how well they will "age." Think about how, a year after you have departed, the format and content of the report will be usable to the client. Will the recommendations be "outdated" or misunderstood without the benefit of being involved in the change process? Will the client know under what conditions the recommendations you offered are no longer appropriate? Have you indicated the point at which additional consulting services may be useful? To the extent possible, design your final report to not become obsolete weeks after your departure.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  communication  information management  writing 

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Jim W. Soudriette CMC. FIMC says...
Posted Friday, December 04, 2009
I used the "Element of Discovery Principal.
Meaning: I assumed (on purpose) most provided required acceptance and implementation by the client's employees, so, I told the client but did not included in a written report for I assumed employees indicated it was "their idea". Why kill their participation by taking back all one gave to them and they readily accepted and sought recognition for it?
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