A Model for Client Engagements: Strategy Development, Consumer Experience, and Technology Build Out



“Strategic management consultants help clients perform markedly better in a world of rapid change.  Consultants must constantly learn new skills, contribute to the intellectual capital of business, and build enduring relations with their clients.” — Carl W. Stern, The Boston Consulting Group

While flipping through my copy of, Management Consulting: A Complete Guide to the Industry, by Sugata Biswas and Daryl Twitchell, I came across an interesting model for thinking about the execution of client engagements:

  1. Strategy Development
  2. Consumer Experience
  3. Technology Build Out

It’s a way of dividing a client engagement into three basic phases.

A Simple View of Division of Labor

It helps explain how different firms may work with a client throughout the entire lifecycle of an engagement. 

It also helps explain divisions of labor. 

The actual composition of the team would vary based on the work stage of an engagement, so that the best resources and capabilities handle each stage. 

For example, strategists often dominate the team in the early phase.  Functional and creative designers dominate during the second phase, and technologists dominate the final phase.

I like the simplicity of the model, and it helps really show where the action is without getting bogged down, and losing sight of the main focus.  It’s all too easy among the chaos to let the wrong thing overshadow what the real value is.

Summary of Stages

Here’s a quick view, according to Sugata Biswas and Daryl Twitchell of what’s happening in each stage:

Strategy Development

  • Competitive analysis
  • Customer analysis
  • Market survey
  • Strategic plan development
  • Technology assessment: define capability map, component sourcing, and so on
  • Operating model definition

Consumer Experience

  • Marketing launch plan
  • Functional analysis
  • Information architecture
  • Creative/user interface design
  • Prototype development and technology infrastructure
  • Mock-up creation

Technology Build-Out

  • Technical infrastructure set-up
  • Implementation
  • Testing
  • Production rollout and support
  • Operational planning and execution
  • Configuration management
  • Knowledge transfer

Visualizing Where the Action Is

Here’s a visual of what these different phases might look like, according to Sugata Biswas and Daryl Twitchell:


As simple as it is, I like the fact that it’s a hypothesis on where the bulk of the work tends to be. 

It also makes it easy to imagine or re-imagine what other combinations of work might look like, if there’s certain shifts or changes in the market place.

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