- Chapter 31: Working with Consultants
- Working with Consultants
- What Are Your Needs?
- Project Manager and Leadership
- Selecting Individual Consultants
- Work Ethic and Attitude
- Large-Scale Project Team Structure
- Preparation for Consultant: Contracts
- Preparation for Consultant: Rates and Fees
- Preparation for Consultant: Fixed-Price Contracts
- Controlling Consulting Project Costs: Change Managementx
- Controlling Consulting Project Costs: Client Involvement
- Controlling Consulting Project Costs: Reviewing the Original Requirements
- Controlling Consulting Project Costs: Weekly Status Reports
- Controlling Consulting Project Costs: Risk and Issues Log
- Controlling Consulting Project Costs: Importance of Database Administrator
- Consulting Work Environment
- Consultant Travel and Costs
- Case Studies of Consultant Behavior
- Case Studies of Client Behavior
Work Ethic and Attitude
As your project progresses, you will observe that the success of the project is influenced by every single team member. When observing your consulting team members, be proactive in understanding issues in which the consultant is involved. Trust your instincts and be prepared to pull the plug on individual consultants.
The goal here is not to be divisive and adversarial. Clearly, this can stifle the overall morale and productivity of the project team and, in turn, cause you added cost that is difficult to attribute to decreased morale. However, you are paying the bills and deserve a quality of service consistent with what you are paying.
If a consultant seems to have a lax work ethic, this is a warning sign. Consultants should be highly self-motivated, or they are perhaps in the wrong industry. A good attitude is a must. If you observe a consultant who is not a good team player to either your employees or to other consultants, get rid of him. Again, trust your instincts.
There might be a tendency to believe that these character traits are simply an aberration and will blow over soon. Besides, you do not know the consultant well enough to understand the dynamics of his personality or the consistency of his character. There will be a tendency to believe that there is too much cost to start the search process over for a new consultant, so you might decide to continue using the questionable consultant. Be careful with this line of reasoning.
Quite frankly, your project will probably cost more than anyone previously estimated anyway. Your project timeline will probably take longer than anyone previously estimated. Thus, you will be stuck with your bad-attitude, low-work-ethic consultant much longer than you previously estimated. Remember that the cost of retaining this consultant will usually go underestimated.
Please note that I am not condoning a flippant and knee-jerk reaction to swapping out consultants. You should work very closely with the project manager and all team members so that your needs are met. Because you were involved in the selection process of the individual consultant (assuming you followed the advice in this chapter!), you are partially to blame for the selection of this consultant as well. Now is not the time to blame yourself and not necessarily the time to blame your project manager. Now is the time to have a productive project. Cut your losses by removing the consultant, but prepare to do damage control immediately.