RFS engagements usually fall into one of two generic categories. First is a specific task type model. Second is a complete extension-of-staff type model. The latter has been designed to assist clients that do not have available staff and/or expertise to carry out relatively short-term specific tasks/projects and do not wish to increase fixed-cost staff to do so. For example, a company may wish to embark on a 'roll up' type M&A program, but not wish to risk acquiring fixed-cost staff with appropriate expertise and then laying them off, if the program was to become a failure. In either case, the firm's engagements are usually divided into three distinct phases: preliminary analysis, execution and implementation, and completion and benefit analysis.
The first phase, preliminary analysis, begins with discussions. The purpose is to become familiar with all project background. Upon completion of initial discussions, review of applicable documentation and meetings with appropriate staff follow. Any information of note found during this review, even if outside the scope of work, is brought to the client's attention. Most important, information gained in the review is analyzed to identify the real problems and determine whether RFS can give the client a satisfactory return on investment. Consequently, no engagement is accepted unless RFS is confident that the objectives can be accomplished within mutually acceptable budget and time constraints. An engagement letter containing a statement of work is prepared and signed by both parties to confirm a mutual understanding of scope and projected outcomes.
The second phase, execution and implementation, constitutes the vast majority of the work. Special reports may be issued relative to lengthy high level-of-effort projects. These reports itemize the accomplishments, schedule and budget tracking, and significant red-flag items of the preceding period and define upcoming task objectives and any changes needed to proceed.
Statements are submitted on or about the 1st and 15th of each month, itemizing staff hours, activity, and out-of-pocket and travel expenses. These highly detailed statements guide the client's control over cost and project direction, in addition to serving as invoices for payment. The client can redirect or stop any activity, and its associated cost, if deemed of little or no value.
The last phase, completion and benefit analysis, is a review to determine the level of project success. At this time, RFS requests that the client furnish a letter of commendation or regret related to the work performed. Finally, RFS requests referrals to other potential clients who might benefit from the company's expertise.