1. demand 75% utilization from everyone in delivery. That means 75% of a 40 hour week is billed to a client.
2. If your PMs are happy then the client is happy, if the client is happy then the project is fine. Talk to your PMs often.
3. Bridge sales and delivery with a liaison who has a foot in each department. Give them the authority to tell sales to STFU and also to tell delivery get it done or else.
back to #1 a billed hour is your only source of revenue in consulting. Further, there are only so many hours to sell. Do some math and let that guide you in project decisions.
The trick is to find clients who have authority to make decisions without approval from HR or Procurement or wherever.
Despite being a one-person consultancy, I did a multi-month project for a global telecom company. As you would expect, this company has a complicated vendor management system, project approval process, budget approval process, and so on. But because my client was a decision-maker (and not a mid-level manager), none of that mattered...
They wanted my help and they needed it fast, so they told me not to worry about the red tape and that they'd deal with it. The only time I heard from procurement/AP was a friendly request for my W-9 form.
Getting pushback from other departments about value-based billing means you're not dealing with the right person. The right person, a decision-maker, will make those problems go away if they really want to work with you.
I also think we're talking apples to oranges. A one person shop may approach contracts differently than a shop with 13 across 3 time zones.
How is it egotistical to say that you’re good enough at what you do that people will make their bureaucratic procedures go away to get you to work for them? It’s either true or it isn’t. The number of people who are literally the only person who can solve a given problem will always be minuscule but being one of the top five people in a very expensive niche is an achievable goal. Being the only one of those people with a public profile and a consulting practice is also achievable.
Think of academic expertise. I’m confident people go to Peter Norvig and ask him as an individual with incredibly deep, broad and publicly known Algorithms skills to do work for them and if they make it too bureaucratic he just declines the work. Likewise economists like Alvin Roth with mechanism design or other hairy, expensive and lucrative problems.
This model of being very good and being known to be very good works for individuals. I’d be shocked if there aren’t one man consulting shops that bill $1m a month, very expensive expertise exists, at a minimum in finance. They probably have a secretary but a principle plus minimal support staff consultancy.