Friday, June 5, 2009

Consultant - The Human Tool

As a US Government employee, I am constantly bombarded by contractors wanting to provide their services and vendors who are constantly selling me their Custom-Of-The-Self (COTS) products. Therefore as a US Government employee, it is my duty to determine if I need consultants and COTS products for some of my organization's strategic activities. As a goverment employee, my primary responsibility is to accomplish my organization's strategic and/or tactical objectives while managing to be diligent stewards of US Tax dollars. Anyway here are some thoughts regarding consultants:
  • Don't let the consultants drive the strategy for your projects - The consultants try to couple themselves to your organization processes and try to you dependent on their services.
  • Be up front - Tell the consultants what your expectations are of him and how his performance will be monitored and assessed.
  • Monitor their perfomance - Hold them accountantable to the project schedule and demand deliverables to be met on time.
  • Take ownership of the Spend Plan - Don't let the consultants manage the spend plan for you. This is a big no, no. Take ownership and decide how you want to mange it.
  • Define and demand deliverables - Define the deliverables and when they should be delivered to you. Keep them accountable for the deliverables.
  • Consultant Scope Creep - I call this when consultants are working with you to know your domain and they might try to expand the scope the deliverables and push the date back. This is not a good idea.
  • Believe in a Reward system where consultants can be retained because their project were successful or show them how they can retained with their good work.
In the end, consultants are nothing more they glorified Enterprise Architecture Tools. The consultants will do what they are told to do within the context of the agency. Having good requirements on sort of consultants should be done by interviewers and sharp managers would thinking about their potential reuse after this project. The only problem with the consultants is they don't have a new version available. :)

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