Fit is as important between businesses, as it is in personal relationships. Each company has its own culture, and when companies work together, the cultures need to mesh.
As we provide consulting services, the onus is on us to accommodate the culture of our clients. Culture is a pretty subtle concept, but one clear aspect is level of formality. Often we are less formal with small companies with respect to documentation and process, which allows us to operate a bit more efficiently. With larger organizations, more formality allows our client to report on our contributions through their hierarchy. My experience at Vancity helps me to appreciate the value of well-developed organizational structure.
Even in the most informal relationships, some documentation and process is valuable. We like to create a project charter even for informal relationships. It can be a one pager, but clearly capturing the team’s roles and accountabilities along with project goals, budget, timing, and deliverables in a one-pager really helps maintain clarity. For more formal relationships, our charter will also address risks, scope and processses in more detail, as appropriate.
Likewise, all aspects of our client relations take on or shed formality to establish a good cultural fit.