The Tenth Day of Christmas – Approving High-Value Consulting Assignments

- December 20, 2012 1:31 PM
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Dear Rob

I received your email on Monday concerning your proposed engagement of management consultants to carry out your strategy development project. Having had a good look at it, I am sorry but I cannot sign off the proposal and give my approval.

Since our CFO agreed earlier this year that as Procurement Director I would have to sign off every consulting engagement over £100,000, I’m afraid this is without a doubt the least convincing proposal I have seen.

There is no sign that you have run any sort of competitive tendering process before selecting your preferred supplier, which is our standard policy for major projects. And  the provider you wish to use, Lords and Co,  are well known in the industry for being THE most expensive firm around. As the latest Source for Consulting report says, “The Lords and Co rates make McKinsey fees look like loose change”.

I also note that there are no clear deliverables, no timescales, no risk transfer, and even the precise fees are rather vague. “Approximately £1 million” is not a firm quote, and I have no idea what we are buying for that, or even roughly how many person days they are proposing to offer. Several cvs are provided in their proposal, but without any details of which consultants will do what or how much of their time they will dedicate to our project.

Your description of the work is very vague. I realise that developing innovative business strategies is not easy to tie down to specific activities, but I have my doubts about this new secret methodology the Lords and Co are proposing, which they describe only as “Leaping”.  One feels that an awful lot of “Leaping” would be needed to justify a fee of £1 Million plus!

So I cannot sign off this proposal as it stands. If you would like to meet and discuss further I’d be happy to do that.

Comments

  • Andrew:

    Dear Rob. Thank you for the further clarification email. Now that I have been made aware that our CEO is good friends and golfing buddies with their Managing Partner I can confirm that I am happy to support this proposal……….

    Merry Christmas Peter and keep up the good work

  • Andrew Moorhouse:

    I see the post tag is “Humour” – could also be “real-life” for many buyers of professional services … I hear somebody once wrote a book on this..?

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