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Engagement Principles

Even though it may be obvious to many it bears repeating. If a consulting practice is to be successful it must provide value to it's clients. To this end each engagement that Norova undertakes is guided by three key engagement principles:


The definition of effective, from WordNet, is "producing or capable of producing an intended result" or "having a striking effect". Norova's objective is to produce the desired results for a client. If this cannot be accomplished then the engagement is a failure - or, in other words, it is not effective. This is the primary principle of an engagement. If the engagement is not effective then the other two principles are irrelevant. This is not to say that the "intended results" are fixed or "etched in stone". If the results are not those that are finally intended, as they evolve through the course of Norova's engagement, then the activities were not "effective". Effectiveness requires paying close attention to expectations, quickly resolving expectation disconnects, and rapidly refocusing efforts as the result-expectations evolve.


Efficiency is defined by WordNet as "the ratio of the output to the input of any system" or "skillfulness in avoiding wasted time and effort". Norova's business plan is based on steadily increasing revenues through repeat engagements rather than extending (or dragging out) a specific engagement. Norova accomplishes this in two ways. The first is to ensure that the client understands what specific tasks are being undertaken, as well the intended result of each task, as the engagement proceeds. This ensures that what is being done stays aligned with Norova's and the client's evolving understanding of the engagement and, as a result, minimizes the wasted effort on things that are not needed. The second is to provide the results in the simplest way that is effective in the current situation. For example, Norova makes extensive use of spreadsheets, annotated diagrams, and presentations and avoids, when appropriate, the significant effort required to write a document. The important point is to baseline and communicate the results. Sometimes a written document is the most effective way to do this and Norova has produced wiritten documents for several clients. However, in most cases Norova is able to produce the required results with much less effort by utilizing effective alternatives to a written document. Finally, open ended discussions and other similar activities can sometimes be useful to draw out ideas and build consensus. However, they are not the primary focus of a Norova engagement. Norova eliminates unnecessary wasted efforts by staying focused and by the application of creative approaches to the engagement tasks..


While effectiveness and efficiency are key guiding engagement principles being task-driven is the foundation that supports both. Being task driven means that both Norova and the client understand and agree on the current tasks that are being undertaken during an engagement and that both parties have a common understanding of what it means to be done. This has two significant benefits. The first benefit is that as the tasks evolves and new information is assimilated it is much easier to identify those task activities that need to change. This does not mean that a lot time must be spent defining and documenting tasks. However, Norova and the engaging executive, as well as the members of the executive management team, must maintain open and clear communications. This is really the foundation of effectiveness. The second benefit is that because everyone has a clear idea of what it means to be done uneccesary efforts a significantly reduced. While the need for a common understanding of what it means for a ask be done may seem obvious it is surprising how often this is the primary reason that more effort than is expected is spent on a given task.


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