Glossary of consulting terms

Consultancy, like most other industries, has over the years built up a staggeringly confusing collection of phrases and terminology that can be hard for people who are new to the industry to understand, follow or remember.

Below is a collection of these phrases and terms along with their definitions that we hope will help make understanding the world of consulting a little easier.

client projects, paid for by the client
Boiler plate
standard way of doing something, for example; “We’ll use a boiler plate design for this document” means that we will reuse an existing document design rather than start from scratch again. (Also see “Cookie-cutter“)
a reuse of existing design / documentation / etc.
A tangible (e.g. a report) or intangible (e.g. a presentation) item which is intended for a client as part of a project
To discuss and define the scope of a project with a client
To redefine the purpose of a project with a client, having already agreed an original scope
Going forward
in the future, for example; “Going forward we need to take more care assessing risks on this project”
Internal assignment
internal, company specific projects that are not being paid for by clients
the process of building up a network of contacts by meeting and talking to people
Next step(s)
things that must be done next
On the bench
a consultant is on the bench if not working on a chargeable client assignment (Also see Off the clock)
Off the bench
a consultant is off the bench when working on a chargeable client assignment (Also see On the clock)
On the clock
a consultant is on the clock when working on a chargeable client assignment (Also see Off the bench)
Off the clock
a consultant is off the clock when not working on a chargeable client assignment (Also see On the bench)
PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE) is a method used for structuring project management activities
amount charged to a client for a consultant’s services, usually per day. (Also referred to as “charge rate”, “billing rate” or “day rate”)
The agreed purpose and limits of a project, what will be included and what will not
Slopey shoulders
someone who has slopey shoulders is someone who passes on the responsibility for something they should really do themselves.
Time poor
people are described as time poor when they are extremely busy
Three Letter Acronym – almost every three word phrase will eventually be turned into a TLA by a project team
Toil (TOIL)
Time Off In Leiu, or time you get to take off in exchange for working overtime on a project / assignment / proposal
a measure of the number of hours that you bill to clients out of your standard weekly hours, usually expressed as a percentage.
Utilisation target
the percentage of your annual worked hours that you should have billed to clients
Upward management
The art of managing and communicating your needs correctly to your boss and their bosses

Hello & Welcome

Hello and Welcome to Consultive Magazine. Whether you're looking to join the consulting industry, have just joined or even have been part of it for a while we have something for you. We get leading industry experts to write about their experiences in the world of consultancy. They share their insights, lessons learnt and hints and tips so you, our reader, can benefit from their knowledge and get ahead in your own consulting career. Read more about us.