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Winning projects – but not at any cost

Chris Oswald

Business meetingWe've been finding that a growing number of management consultancies are showing interest in Timemaster because it brings insight into the profitability of each project across a firm and calculates how much of each consultant’s “chargeable” time actually gets invoiced and paid.  So this year we've worked with prospects and customers to improve how Timemaster handles the full life cycle of projects for management consultants.  It is now a great tool for ensuring that new business is profitable and not won at any cost.

A profitable pipeline

Many professional services firms such as consultancies already estimate the value of their sales pipeline of forthcoming projects.  This is done by calculating the expected income from each project and then applying a weighting on the likelihood of winning it.

It’s more powerful to be able to forecast the profitability, too.  So we have made it quicker in Timemaster to estimate both costs and revenue for prospective projects.  In doing so, we've come up with a useful quoting tool that will help ensure that projects are bid to make profits and not merely to win work.

The profit prophet

In the closing stages of winning new business, or once a project has been won, it’s easy to use the resource planner in Timemaster to define exactly which consultants should work on each stage of it and when.  This produces a cash flow forecast as well as calculating profitability more accurately, and the resulting resource plan can be compared to the earlier estimates to check it’s on track for profits.

Later, as real costs arise and income is received, the profitability to date and revised forecast for the profits for the remaining work will be reported on screen whenever needed.  This gives project managers financial insights they are unlikely to have ever had before.  It’s an enlightening and liberating process for them!

Selfies are in

Timemaster already handled changing staff costs due to overtime and salary adjustments.  Now we've extended it to handle changing costs of self-employed consultants, too.

Let’s say you have agreed different fee rates with a freelancer according to what he or she is doing: as a project manager, providing particular specialist expertise, researching or preparing a speculative bid.  Your project estimate can now accommodate that range of fee rates, adjusting your quotation in the light of them.

A virtuous vortex

The result of all this work is that Timemaster helps management consultants to practice what they preach about continuous improvement.  And we’re always trying to do the same for Timemaster: listening, improving and checking we have got it right.  Thanks, everyone, who’s helping to make it the great product it is.

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