Tim Woods is a great way to focus on areas of potential inefficiencies during an assignment. Reducing these will allow you to improve profitability or become more competitive in terms of pricing.
Many PSF projects are executed inefficiently. Professional project management is relatively rare in many professional service sectors. Pressure from clients demanding better value for money however has brought about change in some sectors such as law. More firms are now investing in process optimisation and project management. When this is done well it can both reduce costs as well as improve quality, leading to improved profitability.
Tim Woods – a helpful acronym
One of the biggest challenges in process and project management is to eliminate activity or resources that do not contribute value. Production optimisation approaches such as Six Sigma or LEAN Manufacturing have developed a number of methodologies to uncover and deal with such “waste”.
Adaptation of this approach for professional services has yielded “Tim Woods”, an acronym highlighting eight potential sources of wastage.
Transport – movement of documents
This could involve the unnecessary physical movement of contracts or plans or other documents between stakeholders for input or approval
Inventory – work in progress delivered ahead of time
Excessive work in progress, or work delivered ahead of time, also generates unnecessary costs. This ties up resources that may be better used elsewhere. Completing ahead of time runs the risk of rework to reflect new developments.
Motion – searching for information
In this context motion is referred to as the activities required to search or obtain information required to deliver work. Poor information storage or ineffective retrieval of precedents will generate additional costs.
Waiting – time spent waiting for inputs and approvals
During many PSF projects, teams often have to wait for input and approvals. These waiting times cause additional costs as team members will not be available for other projects or cannot schedule other tasks.
PSF teams often engage in delivering too much work or at a level of detail far in excess of that required by the client. This is often done due to insecurity because the team failed to establish their client’s requirements.
Over processing – excessive document processing/ checking
Consider if the amount of document processing is appropriate or can be reduced. Alternatively, use the most junior person appropriate to process or check documents or find alternative resources to carry out the processing or checking.
The use of inappropriate or wrong precedents or templates will result in poor of defective output. Other causes of defective work are often unclear drafting instructions or poor sign off procedures.
When senior professionals carry out work for which a junior is more appropriate excess costs are generated. This either happens when senior professionals have no confidence in the skills or expertise of the junior, or when the senior professional feels under pressure to be seen as busy.
More details on Tim Woods can be found in High Impact Fee Negotiation and Management for Professionals, 2nd Edition. We also offer a workshop on fee or value management – click here for more details. It is worth spending time to get to know Tim Woods and apply these insights as part of a value or fee management approach.