Managing professional services engagements

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In relation to professional services, management responsibilities are shared between client and provider, except where their interests and concerns diverge. Identifying and exploiting common interests goes beyond the commercial/financial arrangements, involving different levels and types of management:
Strategic management: whereas some professional services may be seen as short-term point solutions to specific issues (“temping”), many have longer-term implications such as the prospect of repeat/future business if things work out so well that the engagement is clearly productive and beneficial to both parties. Establishing semi-permanent insourcing and outsourcing arrangements can involve substantial investments and risks with strategic implications, hence senior management should be involved in considering and deciding between various options, designing and instituting the appropriate governance and management arrangements, clarifying responsibilities and accountabilities etc. Organisations usually have several professional services suppliers and/or clients. Aside from managing individual relationships, the portfolio as a whole can be managed, perhaps exploiting synergistic business opportunities (e.g. existing suppliers offering additional professional services, or serving other parts of the client organisation or its business partners).
Tactical and operational management: planning, conducting, monitoring and overseeing assignments within a professional services engagement obviously involves collaboration between client and provider, but may also affect and be affected by the remainder of their business activities. A simple example is the provision and direction of the people assigned to assignments, perhaps determining their priorities relative to other work obligations. If either party’s management or workforce becomes overloaded or is distracted by other business, the other may need to help out and

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