Deep in the bowels of your friendly value added reseller, a painful gurgling and sudden intestinal strain produced…a consultant! And there the consultant is, sitting in a conference room across from you with a smiling face and whiteboard marker in hand.
You both love and hate this person. Can you trust them? Should you trust them? Do they have your business’ best interests in mind? Or are they simply there to wring your budget dry?
Join the Datanauts as we navigate through this nasty conflict of interests. We’ve both been consultants, so we have some insights to share.
Liaisons And Buried Bodies
For instance, have a technical and logistical liaison ready to go when the consultant arrives on site. The technical liaison’s job is to get the consultant up to speed on the organization’s infrastructure and applications, and will work with the consultant to implement the solution.
The logistical liaison’s role is to connect the consultant with the right people in the organization, arrange meetings, and make sure the consultant knows essential things like where to sit, how to get on the WiFi, and how to dial an outside line.
This pairing will help you make the most of the consultant’s billable hours and save time and irritation for you and the consultant.
Another useful tip is to tell the consultant where the bodies are buried. Every technical shop has its secrets and compromises (gnarly configurations, long-delayed code upgrades, and so on). The consultant’s going to find out anyway, so there’s no percentage trying to keep it under wraps.
Unless, of course, you’ve got actual bodies stashed away somewhere, in which case you shouldn’t say anything. But that’s a topic for a different Datanauts episode…
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Part 1 – What’s It Like To Be A Consultant?
- Billable hours
- Time cards
- How to track time
- Customer relationships
- Stump the chump exercises
- Thinking about the future
- How far out into the future?
- How do you determine a good timeline for strategic work (1, 3, 5, 10 years?)
- Matching business problems with technology
- Design methodology
- An investment today to future-proof tomorrow
- Is this even possible?
- Iterative / linear architecture vs. throw-away investments
- Getting work done
- What tools can you bring into an environment?
Part 2 – How Best To Interface With Consultants
- A technical liaison
- A logistical liaison
- Tell us where the bodies are buried. Don’t wait for us to find them
- Be ready for us when we get there. Time is precious, our schedules are full, our stress levels are high. You’re paying by the hour
- Help us help you – information at the ready with the right people in the room
Part 3 – Trust Issues
- I think you’re selling me stuff I don’t need just to make a buck
- Who are you talking to? Pre-sales or post-sales assets?
- Is this a pure consulting gig, or are there product and services in play?
- You think I’m stupid. (This works both ways)
- I only want Bob to come work on my project
- I only trust a vendor-certified person
- Sorry, consultant, but you can’t have the rights you need to get your job done