Brian Sommer always posts thoughtful, insightful articles on his Services Safari blog, and today is no exception. His piece entitled, Which Consultants are a Waste of Money, really gets to the heart of the matter. Here’s an abbreviated version of Brian’s guidelines to help you evaluate your own consultants. See his original post, because there’s a lot more than I have covered here:
- Challenges me as to the appropriateness of certain business decisions. He/She has even questioned the need to pursue the project that he/she would be staffed. You need consultants who put your firm’s interests first and not theirs. This is the number one test question because it is the one question that far too many ‘consultants’ fail.
- Recommends faster, less expensive alternatives to getting the work completed. A great consultant wants you to look good and wants your firm to be richer for the experience of having him/her being there.
- Does more than install software or hardware. A person is not a ‘consultant’ if they are a technician masquerading as a consultant.
- Is independent and objective. If your ‘consultant’ or their employer is a channel partner of another firm, receives price discounts or marketing funds from another firm, owns stock in the solution they are trying to install for you, etc., then they are not independent and they damn sure aren’t objective. Independence and objectivity are a lot like virginity, once it’s gone - it’s gone.
- Does more than ‘manage’ the project. Project managers that just collect time and expense data and report it to clients are not ‘consultants’. They’re clerks.