Project Prioritisation to support People development

Can you please describe the specific approach of Inhouse Consulting at our company?

We measure our success in two dimensions: Creating value for our internal clients through consulting projects and providing a steady flow of management talents into the business sectors and group functions. The first dimension is more short-term, leading to high client engagement and complete cost-coverage for our department. The second dimension ensures the success of Inhouse Consulting in the long run by delivering on our role as talent incubator for our company. Typically, consultants stay for about 2-4 years with Inhouse Consulting before they exit into a management role in the business.

How do you receive new project requests?

New project requests come in via different channels. In many cases the consultants are approached directly by our clients. They know the specific consultant from previous projects and ask for support in follow-up activities or adjacent topics. New project requests also reach us via the team heads or the head of IC, which is typically the case for high-priority requests on Corporate level. All new project requests are entered into our portfolio tool and are visible to everyone at IC.

How do you prioritize project requests?

The IC leadership team (ICLT) reviews the list of new requests on a regular base and decides on the staffing. This is a combined top-down and bottom-up prioritization process. First, the ICLT sorts out requests that do not fit to our approach or are very short-term and cannot be served due to limited capacity. It also looks for opportunities to staff the high-priority requests, such as Corporate level projects where IC support is strategically important. Finally, a high number of potential projects remain on the list to be staffed. They cannot all be served and just first-in-first-served would lead to a random assignment to available consultants. Here is where bottom-up prioritization comes into the game. Consultants can pick projects according to their preference and development plan, for instance a consultant who wants to develop into an Operations role would prefer the global supply network optimization against the pricing strategy for lab chemicals. You can think about the bottom-up prioritization like a kind of marketplace where the requests compete against each other.

Why does your prioritization approach support people development?

Our prioritization process ensures that we only work on projects that are in line with our IC approach, strategically important for our company, and appreciated by consultants as they fit to their development aspirations. Don’t get me wrong: the bottom-up prioritization (marketplace) is not about cherry-picking. It is about supporting the development of our consultants in terms of learning and networking in their individual target areas of our company. As said, we are also measured against our aspiration to provide a steady flow of management talents into the business. Consequently, prioritization needs to consider that project assignment is our main people development tool.

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