Project Management in Consulting: A Profile of Best Option
Management Consultants, Inc.
Best Option Management Consultants, Inc. is a management consulting company based in the Philippines. It operates in the entire Asian region, conducting organizational diagnosis and training programs in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and HongKong, to name a few.
Economic, Legal, and Social Environment
Best Option operates in country where public and private sectors co-exist. With a GDP posting of $202 billion and real GDP growth of 7.3% in 2010, the Philippine economy, though not as strong as its other Asian neighbors, was not greatly affected by the global financial crisis of 2008. This is due to the fact that the Philippines is more dependent on domestic demands than most countries in Asia (Heaton, 2010). With a more conservative approach to the crisis and more prudent policies, the government has avoided the financial difficulties that befell other countries (Cuenca, Reyes, & Yap, 2009). This kind of economic environment has a positive impact on the growth of the country’s small and medium businesses as well as on the performance of large enterprises. Foreign markets are investing in the Philippines, thereby boosting the performance of the Philippine market, resulting in a government and a business market that is better equipped to support its companies.
The Philippines’ legal structure protects businesses with a rigid Intellectual Property Code; the state recognizes that “an effective intellectual and industrial property system is vital to the development of domestic and creative activity, facilitates transfer of technology, attracts foreign investments, and ensures market access” (“Information Technology in the Philippines, 1999).
The Philippines evolved into a melting pot of culture; it is a blend of the east and the west. Because of the geographical terrain of the Philippine archipelago, the Filipinos are divided not only geographically but also culturally. Diversity is not only in culture, but also in religion; 80% of Filipinos are Catholics, 5% are Muslims, and the rest are divided between Christian, Iglesia ni Kristo, Evangelical, and others (“Philippines Demographics Profile,” 2011). This diversity has paved the way for the Filipino people to be more open and welcoming about new ideas. Businesses in the Philippines are becoming open to implementing some global business practices as applicable to them.
Business Profile Analysis
Best Option’s projects are handled by an Associate Consultant. The Associate Consultant is responsible for the whole project from contract development, negotiation, implementation, monitoring, and reporting. The main resource of Best Option is its pool of consultants. The Associate Consultant coordinates and aligns with the senior consultants to ensure that the consultant’s expertise is matched with the requirements of the project. A PERT chart presents a graphic illustration of how a project is organized (Heizer & Render, 2001)). Figure 1 shows the PERT chart of a Best Option project.
Timeline of projects vary depending on the type of engagement. A full-blown project that includes an organizational diagnostic and solutions implementation takes ten to fifteen weeks. A diagnostic project takes five to six weeks, depending on the size of the organization to undergo diagnosis. A Gantt chart can give a clear illustration of a project schedule, as well as illustrate the critical path (Heizer & Render, 2001). Figure 2 shows a Gantt chart of a diagnostic schedule. A critical path is determined depending on the type of project the company will engage the client with. If the project is an organizational diagnosis, the critical path will be much simpler and more straightforward as compared with a diagnostic and implementation project.
Once an implementation plan is set in place, the Associate Consultant now prepares contingency plans. Since Best Option is dealing with people and systems, it is only wise that they prepare for several possible contingencies. A contingency plan is also important to ensure that the project pushes through in case something unexpected happens.
Even in a professional environment as this, Best Option has some management issues. The company, though incorporated, is still basically family-run. While there is a standard in organizing a project, some administrative processes and policies are developed only as needed and varied depending on the situation (S. Baylon, personal communication, September 5, 2011).
Staff Needs and Tools
Best Option operates with a lean in-house staff. The current headcount 10 employees; three (3) Associate Consultants, two (2) Human Resources and Administration Officers, two (2) Finance Officers, and three (3) administration clerks. A total of thirty-three (33) Senior Consultants are on a per project basis.
Given that the company operates in the Asian region, a staff made up of ten people is a bit short; three Associate Consultants are not enough to handle clients and potential clients in the entire Asian region.
Best Option relies heavily on technology to engage with clients. The internet and electronic mail is highly used and important in their operations. Associate Consultants are trained in Account Management, Financial Management, Project Management, and Human Resources. Training for the staff is regularly scheduled and strategically aligned to their functions.
Change factors such as technological development and changes in strategy may positively the company. As a consulting company, Best Option’s business is change; ensuring that their clients transition smoothly and accept the changes that would improve their performance. In the same way, Best Option would benefit in any technological or strategic changes. As it is, with its small size, Best Option is able to capture a market in the regional arena. If it changes strategy, for example expanding its operations by adding additional personnel or opening branch offices in other countries, Best Option would be able to reach more people and expand their client base.
Cuenca, J.S., Reyes, C.M., & Yap, J.T. (2009). Impact of the global financial and economic crisis on the Philippines. Discussion paper, 30.
Heaton, C.S. (2010). Should you invest in the Philippines? Moneyweek, 128.64
Heizer, J. & Render, B., (2001). Operations Management (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Prentice Hall Information technology in the Philippines, (1999). Retrieved from http://www1.american.edu/carmel/bree/legal.html
Philippines demographics profile, (2011). Retrieved from http://www.indexmundi.com/philippines/demographics_profile.html