Friday, May 14, 2010

Management Consulting

            Management Consulting

1. Overview

All those who are providing professional advice to their clients as above call themselves management consultants.

The management consultancy has been defined as “ the rendering of independent advice and assistance about the process of management in any area to clients with management responsibilities. The consulting process includes a set of recognizable and disciplined steps in providing professional service to clients fulfilling their objectives”.

Some of the specializations covered by the Management Consultants in India are,
· Information Technology

· Finance and Administration

· Corporate Strategy and Organization

· Manufacturing and Technology

· Marketing Sales and Distribution

· Personnel Management and Training

· Executive Selection

· Economic and Environmental Studies

· Marketing Management 19%

· Project Management 18%

· Operations/Manufacturing Management 15%

· Corporate & General Management 14%

· Personnel/Human Resource Management 14%

· Financial Management 13%

· Administrative. & Office Management 05%

· Others 02%

2.Management Consultancy Processes

Five phase model

There is nothing like a universal model. However, most of the consultants’ world over use these six phases while planning and executing a consulting assignment. They include entry, diagnosis, action planning, report writing, implementation and termination.   The entire model needs flexibility and imagination meeting the expectations of the client. 

3.Action planning
4.Report writing

1.Entry Stage
The marketing of consultancy services is the starting point.

 The consultant approaches the client and talks about the help he can provide in solving their problems and/or helping them exploit the market opportunities (OR) the organization has a specific problem and they would like an outside expert who could be of assistance.
The initial discussion helps to pinpoint the problems, which need to be identified and solved. The client briefs the consultant on their needs, scope, coverage desired, time span available and budgetary limits if any. Armed with this information, the consultant prepares a proposal for consideration of the client. The proposal must spell out the details under the following heads:

§ Primary and secondary objectives of study.
§ Research methodology that will be used. This will mainly be under the headings of primary and secondary research respectively.
§ Coverage that will be defined in terms of geography, types of contacts to be made for data collection

Once the agreement is reached between both the parties, it becomes a contract which becomes mandatory to both the parties.


Like in medical profession, this is a crucial phase. If not done
properly, the consultant can go in a wrong direction. This aims at
identifying the area where the problem lies. This can be in several
areas like marketing, technical, financial, legal and many others.

Accordingly, what information is needed under the respective heads,
sources of information and other details can be planned. It also must be
ensured that this has to be done within the limitations of time, budget
and resources available like manpower.

3.Action planning

It begins with identifying the person or group of persons who will be assigned to this task. The specific role they will be playing which may include data collection, data entry, data analysis, data interpretation, drawing conclusions and offering recommendations. A time schedule chart needs to be prepared assigning tasks and time. The provision for budgets will have to be made.

4.Report writing

Invariably, a consultant has to offer his conclusions and
recommendations in the form of a report. There is no universal
format available for a consultant’s report. It will certainly depend on
the nature of consultancy assignment.

It is quite likely that at this stage, the consultant may provide a draft report initially. The client after going through it may raise several queries. He may ask clarifications or additional information on several issues. The consultant may have to undertake additional research to gather the data.


If the client desires, the consultant can be engaged in
implementing his recommendations. It has been a common
complaint on the part of consultants that in majority of cases,
once they submit the final report to the client, the assignment is
over for them.
This could be because of the indecisiveness on the
part of the client or deferring the decisions.

A good consultant should not shy away from implementation services as well.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


What is project management? 
Project management is a systematic methodology adopted in all the phases of Project Life Cycle Management.
According to PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge) a complete life cycle of a project can be divided as:
 1.Project Integration Mgmt
  2.Project Scope Mgmt.
  3.Project Time Mgmt.
   4.Project Cost Mgmt.
   5.Project Quality Mgmt.
   6.Project Human Resource Mgmt.
    7.Project Communication Mgmt.
    8.Project Risk Mgmt.
    9.Project Procurement Mgmt.
                                           SAP Vs Project Mgmt Approach

SAP PLM is an excellent module which can help implement all the knowledge area's mentioned above through entire Project Life cycle process. SAP PS is part of SAP PLM.

 Introduction to SAP PS

SAP PS module helps to Plan,Execute,Control and Close Various Projects running in an enterprise.

Typically an enterprise can have Following types of Projects: 

 1. Sales Projects.

 2.Overhead Projects.

3.Customer Projects.

4.Maintenance Projects

5.Service Projects.

6.Statistical Projects.

All these projects can be implemented using Sap PS module.
I will try to explain all these projects in series.

But before that let us understand what SAP PS is all about.

                                           Overview of SAP PS Module

SAP PS Module Implementation can be divided into 7 steps.

1.Project structuring.

2.Project Planning

3.Project budgeting.

4.Project execution.

5.Project Control.

6.Period End closing and Settlement.

7.Project Closing.

1.Project Structuring: 

Project structuring means defining project in a terms of Wbs,Network,Activites, and Milestones.

The above mentioned items form Primary Master data in SAP PS and are called Project Objects.

Let us first try to understand all these Objects and their functionalities as they are the Primary control drivers in Project system.

   a) WBS (Work Break Down Structure) :    

 A WBS  is a model of project that shows the project deliverable in a hierarchical form. A WBS can represent structural organization of project and provides a Phase,Function or Product Oriented description.

To make it easy, WBS is a form of representing Various Phases/Functions in a series.

In a simple Product manufacturing,these can be the following stages or phases  - Product Planning,Plan Approval,Product Manufacturing and Product Testing ,which represented  as structure forms Work Breakdown Structure.

Individual elements in this structure are called wbs elements.

We have Represented a project (ie:Product manufacturing process) in various phases,But each phase has a set of functions that need to be performed.

Like in case of Product Planning - We first need to gather Information relating to composition of Product and Let us call this wbs element as 'Product requirement gathering'.
Later this is followed by another wbs element  "Determining Product Structure"( how it looks ,its dimensions,,etc).
Now,these elements are called WBS elements as they are nothing but division of work specified under WBS

b)Network ,Activites and Relationship:

Network describes the time sequence and dependencies of activities. A network consists of fundamental elements Activities and relation ship.

From the following example, for a Simple Product Manufacturing procedure,under Product Planning phase we have two sub phases.

Let us consider Product requirement gathering. You have a set of activities that need to be performed under project requirement gathering. 

In our example under Product requirement gathering, some of the activities (in simple words tasks)which are processed can be in general.
1.Procuring Product related data 
2.Analyzing Product related data.
These are called as Activities.

There are certain rules for processing activities and also there are certain types of activities.
Types of activities : Internal Activity.

                                         External Activity.

                                         General cost activity.

                                         Service Activity.

If we want to Procure Product related data from Internal source(ie: through company's engineer) then it is an internal activity.

If we want to assign this work to an external agency or a consultant then this becomes external activity.

If the activity is a service activity like a contract,then it comes under 'service activity'.

If an activity is based on cost element,then it becomes General cost activity( we will these service and general cost activity in detail later)

So in this case we create a Network for Product requirement gathering having 2 Activites mentioned above ( Ie: Procuring Product related data  and Analyzing Product related data.)

Relation ship

You cannot perform  Analyzing Product related data unless you finish  the step before it (Ie : Procuring Product related data ) 

So the relation is start activity 2 after activity one is completed.

We call this as F-S Relation.

Meaning 'Finish" and activity before you "Start"

Similarly there are - S-S(Start to  Start) ,F-F(Finish to Finish) ,S-F (Start to Finish) relationships.

So basically, Network contains set of activities having interdependency.

3.Milestones: As the name specifies,Mile stones are 'Reference Places' In a project which can be used for Controlling,Reporting and billing purpose.

4.Templates : Templates are standard project structures.

If ,for example a company is into similar projects,then a standard template can be used which can be copied and changes can be made.

Now we are done with Basic Project structuring and can use this as a template.