In our last project review, the question was raised “Can you show the value you are adding to this project?”. My immediate thought was, “Yes, I can put together a Cost Benefit Analysis!”, but it can be really difficult to itemize consulting contributions. It is pretty straight forward to calculate the potential benefits of a project overall, but how do you separate the contributions of the consultants from the overall project?
A good estimate/baseline for evaluating the value add is started in the bidding process with the pricing of the expected services and deliverables. That is the projected value add. In my experience, most projects don’t go exactly as projected ;-), so what is the actual value add? In order to determine the actual value add, I need to know the expected value of the project, which is usually unknown to the bidders during the bidding process. The expected value of the project is a good ceiling for reference, so the actual value add should fall somewhere between the projected value of the services and the expected value of the project.
Now you can compare the actual work to the projected work. We usually under promise and over deliver, because we are team players and the project’s success is our success. So aside from the promised deliverables, how valuable are the conversations that we facilitated between teams and problems that were anticipated and avoided? We have to make some assumptions. Assumptions are tough and great at the same time. Assumptions aren’t perfect and it may turn out that they were completely wrong, but as long as you have sound reasoning behind your assumptions they are valid for this exercise.
I have my scope of work and a good idea of the overall value of the project. Time for me to go compare the projected work to the actual work and make some assumptions about how costly delays would be, what alternatives could’ve been invested in, and how valuable our work will be in launching this project. Thanks for reading, but I have a lot of work to do!