Summary of Managing the Professional Service Firm

Free Press,
First Edition: 1993 more...

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Managing the Professional Service Firm book summary
To make your professional service firm profitable, leverage senior and junior staff wisely, and put your clients first.


8 Overall

8 Applicability

7 Innovation

7 Style


If you manage or work in a professional service firm, this book can put your operation into perspective by explaining what drives the firm’s profitability. Author David Maister uses his personal experiences to enliven some of the dryer parts of the text with a few case studies, first-hand observations and advice. He covers the whole range of essential practices encountered by any service firm, including governance, hiring, motivation, coaching, marketing and compensation. However, there is one important caveat: This classic book was first published in 1993, including the chapter on professional compensation, which particularly needs updating. Some chapters were published even earlier in various trade magazines and journals, some dating back to 1982. Is this information still fresh and accurate in today’s business environment? Even if the personnel advice is, the compensation counsel and pre-Internet marketing advice probably is not. With this caveat, getAbstract considers this foundational work important for anyone working in or with a professional service firm.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What makes a professional service firm profitable
  • How to manage professional practices
  • What to do to expand your practice


A Special Business
Two characteristics make professional service firms different from other companies. First, most of their work demands a very high level of customization. Second, practitioners engage in a significant amount of personal client interaction. As a result of these characteristics...
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About the Author

David H. Maister, a former Harvard Business School professor, consults for professional service firms worldwide. He is also the co-author of The Trusted Adviser, Practice What You Preach and First Among Equals.

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