The professional services industry is one where human capital, e.g., time, knowledge, and expertise, are the primary inputs. In the professional services industry, providers can be large enterprises with hundreds of employers, agencies, firms, or sole proprietors with fewer employees, or sole consultants.
Teams and individuals in this industry offer their time, knowledge, and expertise, typically on a project basis, to complete a task or achieve set milestones on behalf of a client. Professional services providers create value by providing services, not through selling products.
The industry, which was affected significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic, is recovering quickly. Most professional services providers are restructuring their processes and implementing digital transformation initiatives to provide even better services and create more value for customers.
The post-pandemic landscape has transformed business for professional services providers in many industries. From remote working to restrictive travel and an onslaught of new technologies, professional services firms are reviewing, digitizing, and optimizing their processes, systems, and offerings to serve clients better and work more efficiently.
Professional services management aims to deliver client projects on time and within budget. It is the process of planning the project and guiding team members to produce their best work and contribute to achieving set goals, all while implementing the company's policies and working with industry standards and best practices.
Professional services managers handle this role. For smooth and successful projects, they must be diligent during project planning to ensure all stakeholders are on the same page and goals, projects, and allocated budgets align.
What does professional services management involve?
Professional services management revolves around coordinating teams and individual contributors involved in a project to ensure adherence to standards, timelines, and budgets.
Day-to-day operations may include:
Leading team meetings
Assessing and distributing progress reports
Sharing project goals and updates
Delivering optimal project results
Receiving and sharing client feedback
What is a professional services manager?
A professional services manager is a person in charge of professional services management. Their job is to ensure the successful delivery of client projects according to the set budget and timeline.
The professional services manager plans, organizes, tracks, and communicates project deliverables and progress with team members and stakeholders, ensuring that both sides are aligned on the objectives and direction of the project.
Other duties may include guiding, supporting, and cautioning team members and contributors when they step out of line with the company's policies and regulations.
What does a professional services manager do?
A professional services manager oversees all processes involved in the planning and delivering successful projects within the organization and client assignments. Key responsibilities of a professional service manager include:
Keeping up with technological and industry changes: A professional services manager ensures the firm and team are up to date with relevant technology that can make the organization more efficient, improve customer experience, and increase profitability.
Communicating with clients: The professional services manager must take the lead in communicating with clients. This means setting and communicating accurate expectations and proactively sharing project updates. They must establish a shared understanding of communication styles and working preferences at the start of any new client relationship or project.
Staying attuned to clients' needs: With so many changes in the technology, professional, and business services industry, many companies rely on professional service firms to create new solutions for their businesses. Professional service managers must keep learning about clients' industries to brainstorm new ideas and strategies to improve their businesses. They must also regularly reimagine their services to suit clients' needs better.
Hire and retain top talent: Professional service managers must be good at hiring, working with, and retaining top talent to provide value to their clients. This may mean looking outside your city or country, as remote work widens the pool of available talent.
Manage stakeholder expectations: In addition to leading their teams, professional service managers manage project stakeholders. They often serve as the primary liaison to all involved stakeholders.
How to become a professional services manager
Professional services is a broad and diverse industry, and there is no one fixed path to becoming a professional services manager. Some professions like accounting or law require a college degree and further education. However, others like writing, designing, and marketing may require only an online training course certificate and real-world experience.
Depending on your industry, follow a path that allows you to begin practicing and contributing to real client projects as soon as possible. Conduct research to understand how most professional services managers in your industry get into their roles and begin your journey by taking the necessary steps.
Professional services tools
An effective professional services management tool can be the difference between successful projects and workflows and a chaotic work environment.
Using a collaborative workspace and project management tool like Wrike helps position your team for success with structured workflows and processes and a robust platform you can customize to fit your team's needs. Wrike helps optimize resource allocation, track project delivery time, and facilitates collaboration between teams, even when working remotely.