Outsourcing, PM, and forecasting: Agency Office Hours Q&A with Karl Sakas

Office Hours Recording from September 14, 2021

Get agency advice on capacity planning, business development, positioning, and more in the September 2021 episode of Agency Office Hours with Karl Sakas. Click the link below to “jump” directly to the Q&A segment:

  1. OUTSOURCING: Which agency roles should always be full-time employees? [starting at 3:51]
  2. POSITIONING: How should we communicate about our agency’s decades of experience? [starting at 8:35]
  3. PROJECT MANAGEMENT: What’s the “Iron Triangle” of PM, and why does it matter? [starting at 21:22]
  4. INTERVIEWING: What question should we ask every PM candidate? [starting at 22:12]
  5. KICKOFF: What question should we ask every mew client? [starting at 24:28]
  6. CAPACITY PLANNING: How do we tie business development to forecasting and capacity planning? [starting at 25:47]
  7. BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: How can a “weighted” sales pipeline improve our bizdev forecasting? [starting at 29:39]
  8. ESTIMATES: How can we use SME ranges to improve our PM estimates? [starting at 31:32]
  9. FORECASTING: How can our self-marketing fix the “feast or famine” problem? [starting at 33:40]
  10. STAFFING: Why should we always assign work to the “cheapest competent available person”? [starting at 35:59]
  11. FREELANCERS: How should we build a “stable” of freelancers to help with surges in work? [starting at 36:44]
  12. MAINTENANCE: Should we have team members on “standby” for last-minute client support? [starting at 38:22]
  13. DECISIONMAKING: What’s different about “high fidelity” versus “low fidelity” predictions? [starting at 42:36]
  14. HIRING: How do we know when it’s time to hire a full-time employee? [starting at 45:05]
  15. CLIENT EDUCATION: How much client education should we do at kickoff? [starting at 46:55]

Top resources from the live event:

  1. There are six Agency Roles. If you’re outsourcing fulfillment, you’ll likely keep Account Management, Project Management, and Strategy in-house (while outsourcing the Subject Matter Expert / SME work).
  2. More about the “Iron Triangle” of Project Management (budget, timeline, scope… or “good, fast, cheap; pick two”).
  3. To improve your forecasting, make sure you know how much work something takes. Start by doing a Work Breakout (WBO) for typical engagements.
  4. For less panic when hiring is urgent, adopt an “Always Be Recruiting” approach.
  5. However you position, look for ways to pre-address sales objections on your website.

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