What should you expect from your consultants?

Posted on: June 21, 2017 | By: Andrew Hall | Professional Services, QAD Practice News, QAD Business Process

For those of us that have had to engage consultants, there was always a first time. And going into that first time, which you may be, there can be questions regarding exactly what should be reasonably expected from a consultant. Having been on the consulting side of this relationship for over 20 years, I can safely say that aligning expectations with reality early on will greatly improve the relationship. The below list of proper expectations is not exhaustive, but it is illustrative of what you should expect. Of course, always pay attention to the Assumptions and Deliverables in any professional services agreement as they can dramatically change what your firm is signing up for.

·        The consultants should be assertive, but not arrogant or aggressive. You are typically contracting consultants for expertise that is not available internally. Therefore, you should expect that they are assertive in their opinions, but that opinions are communicated in a non-threatening and non-condescending manner.

·        Consultants should be firm, but not unwilling to compromise or bend. As an example, most projects have detailed plans that include due dates and budgets. Your consultants should hold firm to the plan to prevent cost and time overruns. However, there is always a need for some flexibility as no project proceeds through it lifecycle without bumps or the need for compromises. This can be simple as creative solutions to critical path issues. If the slightest change in execution of the plan always leads to a change order, then is a symptom of rigidity. (Note: at some point, changes will require a scope change, but it shouldn’t be a reflexive answer to every project challenge).

·        Ability to provide context, options and recommendations so you can make an informed decision. Consulting does not come cheap and for the dollars spent on the experts, you should fairly expect that for any issue or design decision, the consultant can provide options AND a recommendation, supported by facts, analysis and experience. You should not simply receive a laundry list of options.

·        Consultants should be frank and honest. Everyone makes mistakes and no one has perfect knowledge of all subject matter, no matter how much experience the consultant has. Therefore, it should be fair to expect that errors are admitted to or a lack of specific knowledge or experience is communicated. It should be acceptable on some occasions for the consultant to say… “I don’t know, but I will find out”. You shouldn’t hear this a lot, or you might not have the experienced consultant you think you have, and even if you rarely hear it, make sure “but I will find out” is always how the statement ends.

·        Expect a sincere effort to create positive interpersonal relationships with your internal team. We cannot assume that all personalities will mesh perfectly, we are human after all, but you should expect a sincere effort.

·        You should expect that the consultant works as hard or harder than your internal team, and should be more productive. This is a part of the premium paid for consulting.

About Logan Consulting

Logan Consulting is a leading consulting firm with strengths in strategy, project management, business process design, ERP and CRM implementation, recruitment and training.  Since 1992, our business process-based delivery techniques and tools have helped our clients build a solid business process and information technology foundation to support their business.  Our clients count on us for objective, unbiased analysis, recommendations and project work.  To learn more and hear what our customers are saying about us, please visit our website (www.logan-consulting.com).

Logan Consulting is headquartered in Chicago, IL with global services reach.



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