For the first time in paperback, international expert and consultant David Maister offers a brilliant and accessible guide to every management issue at play in professional firms. Professional firms differ from other business enterprises in two distinct ways: first, they provide highly customized services and thus cannot apply many of the management principles developed for product-based industries. Second, professional services are highly personalized, involving the skills of individuals. Such firms must therefore compete not only for clients but also for talented professionals. Drawing on more than ten years of research and consulting to these unique and creative companies, David Maister explores issues ranging from marketing and business development to multinational strategies, human resources policies to profit improvement, strategic planning to effective leadership. While these issues can be complex. Maister simplifies them by recognizing that "every professional service firm in the world, regardless of size, specific profession, or country of operation, has the same mission statement: outstanding service to clients, satisfying careers for its people, and financial success for its owners."
An utterly excellent guide to managing a consultant firm
By Rune Antonsen - January 12, 2001
If you have ever worked in, been a partner or managed a consultancy firm, this book will not only answer a lot of your troubling questions, it will also explain matters that you did not know the questions to - just the obnoxious frustration of something that was not working.It is with incredible ease, yet depth and understanding that David H. Maister plough through the important issues that concerns not only managing partners in a consultant company, but anyone who wants to climb up the ladder. He explains why you got to balance your workcrew (juniors up to partners) and why it is so vitally important to mix people on the right combination of projects (brains, grey hair and procedure projects) as this builds up the firm's human capital, and provides the means and profitability to continue to grow steadily. I could go on but space does not allow me to. This book is not filled with theoritical babble but practical and useful information, no - knowledge and experience!The book is... read more
Consummate Consulting Guide
By A Customer - March 15, 1999
Maister does a great job of summarizing the rules, objectives, and pitfalls of most service organizations. This was required reading (perhaps still is) for Andersen Consulting managers. It is very easy to read and can be put to use immediately.Some of the basic issues that plague service firms are raised without a proposed fix. Partner billable hours is the metric that drives short term thinking. It would seem that Partner profit would be the better metric.An Outstanding book that is applicable to law, medical, technology, and strategic service firms.
The top book on the subject
By therosen "therosen" - March 31, 2005
This is the top book on the subject, by the one author who specializes only in the niche of Professional Services Firms. There are numerous tactics in the book for improving one's practice, but it is a couple theoretical points that have the most value.
First, the book describes the pyramid nature of the professional services firm, describing how the profitability of a firm is derived. (A partner bills out the pyramid below him) Therefore, the two drivers for profitability of a partner are how much he can bill his (or her) people out for, and how big the pyramid beneath her (or him) is. There are many tactical points presented for improving these, but it really helps focus the energy of the partner to think about the two main drivers. What about growth? In and of itself, adding partners with their own pyramids will not help the profitability of other partners.
What good is growth, then, if it doesn't drive profitability? Growth is needed to encourage top... read more