Original Date: 06/02/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Unique Business Model
ABC Virtual Communications, Inc. established a process of rotating personnel between consulting and product involvement to provide an opportunity for every employee to contribute to the company’s bottom line between consulting opportunities. This has created a workforce of consultants who are directly in touch with the products they support.
ABC Virtual Communications, Inc.’s (ABCV’s) business consists of 70% consulting and 30% product development. Often weeks may pass between engagements in the consultation business. This is known as the “bench,” and providing funding for the consultants during this time period was a problem. Previously, ABCV focused on service provider development, which resulted in minimal flexibility to revisit phases once completed. The company also wanted to focus on the development of its employees’ core skill sets.
ABCV established a process that allocates resources to both sides of the business consultation and product development. Weekly meetings are conducted to compare estimated work efforts to the available resources. Employees are then rotated between consulting and product development, based on their previous task and the area in need of more resources. While most consultants gather experience in both areas, 25% of the workforce remains full-time in product development to ensure continuity in the product life cycle. Keeping consultants on staff between consulting engagements provides a unique advantage by involving the consultants with the technical knowledge of the work product and keeping the core company skills in continuous use. ABCV’s focus continues to emphasize the project work, which allows the development of more product features in a shorter period of time.
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