How you go about shopping for a consultant is critical. Most companies do it poorly rather than doing it well. This makes the entire process more frustrating, time consuming and expensive for all parties, consultants and customers alike. In the hope that some of this frustration can be minimized, we present an insider’s guide to shopping for a consultant.
What comes to mind when you ponder the possibility of engaging a consultant? Dread or excitement? The high cost or opportunity for growth? Most of us have heard good things and bad things about using consultants, most of which are true.
What do you think about when you reflect on the word “consultant”? A challenge that all consultants have is a product of their role, regardless of who employs them. No matter how knowledgeable, objective, insightful and expert we are, we have no control over what anyone does with our recommendations.
Connected vehicles are one area of emerging technologies projected to grow significantly over the next five years. Most organizations will not have this knowledge internally. They will go outside and look for consultants to fill the knowledge gap on projects and programs that are designed to develop the organization’s connected vehicle business abilities.
Just having bodies in seats is not enough for success; it needs to be the right bodies at the right time. When a project involves a consultant, it is important to evaluate the resource and not take their resume or proposal at face value.
Consultants can be a helpful resource on a project or they can take up valuable space. Here are some ideas for the best way to deal with consultants and make sure they are beneficial to the project.
This article examines how working professionals and consultants can handle conflict of interest. The article defines the term and then goes on to discuss the various dimensions involved in conflict of interest. The key theme in this article is that the “Softest Pillow is a Clear Conscience”.
This article discusses the networks of relationships between corporates and auditors, certifiers, and consultants, and how the chances for collusion mean that unethical and poor corporate governance result. The key theme in this article is that changes in company law have made it tougher for such collusion in recent times, but the best way forward would be for self-regulation and professionalism.
External Consultants bring an element of objectivity and neutrality into the business continuity management process. Lets discuss in detail the role of external consultants in business continuity management.
How to Write a Consulting Contract. Consultants perform a number of services for people or organizations that hire them. Before a consultant is hired, they often create and execute a consulting contract, which lays out the duties of all…
Project and portfolio management solutions provider hopes to rapidly expand its new partner programs by giving away more than $1 million worth of its software to qualified resellers and consultants.
Industry observers say consultants’ days of living large are over, and it’s about time. This story looks at the changing role of consultants and what kind of services you can expect in 2004.
China’s physical and technological infrastructure is transforming at lightning speed, but institutional and cultural realities are much slower to change, which presents huge challenges for project consultants, managers and teams. Here’s an overview of the project management landscape in China, and the prevailing prerequisites for getting things done.
Notorious for less-than-ideal government efficiency, the District of Columbia turned to PM consultants to put its financial management system in order. The solution and implementation was a SOARing success.
Is “consultant” a dirty word? Many consultants get a bad name from the fact that they become indistinguishable from the organizational employees that they work alongside. How do you know that hiring a consultant is a good idea?
Regardless of the economic climate, IT project managers and consultants going head-to-head with established consulting firms have to be prepared for a bumpy road in the beginning. Here’s some advice on competing with the big guys.
Has the e-learning industry harnessed the power of the sophisticated, interactive interface to produce tools that can teach project managers and teams improved techniques, collaboration and leadership skills? Projects@Work asked a couple of project management training consultants to look into that question. Here is their verdict on three products.
How do you become a recognized and respected internal consultant? The answer is not simple due to an organization’s culture, its utilization of external consultants and its project management approach—as well as how the project managers themselves impact how (and if) they are viewed as an internal consultant.
Independent consultants all share one common trait: Projects end, and they eventually leave what has been their “home” for quite some time. This parting can either be “sweet sorrow” or a downright nightmare. The difference is in how you handle your departure and, in essence, your client relations.
How do you define a consultant? It takes more than a business card to be a true expert in data warehousing. Before you bring in the consultants, make sure your getting the expertise you will most certainly pay for.
In the project management context, knowledge management and transfer are essential. Effective KM practices increase the business value of consultants to organizations. Change management programs are improved when they are supported with knowledge transfer. Finally, we will see that knowledge management activities are a hallmark of many top-performing organizations.
Consulting on a project can be a very different experience than managing one directly. And if you are a PM, you may find yourself dealing with project consultants on a regular basis. But when consultants start to encroach on the project manager’s purview, there can be conflicts and issues.
People are becoming increasing comfortable with artificial intelligence. But what does consulting have to fear from AI? These are challenging times for large consultancies and small independent consultants as they are forced to respond to attacks from three sides.
The projects that will be approved next year are the ones that offer the highest return–and the quickest. Time is of the essence, and these IT consultants offer some tips on which projects are most likely to get the green light in 2009.
You are dependent upon your professional skills to get you through the days, months or even years. Here we look at pesky issues that long-distance consultants may face–and how they can mitigate potential problems.
Noncompetes are very much like that old comedy spoof where you see Mel Brooks drawing a line in the sand with his foot and standing behind it proudly with his arms folded across his chest. We all know what comes next, the other man continually walks past it. The process is repeated until it is obvious that Mel is just plain not going to win. Recently in my world, a topic came up which seemed to shadow this game. It was in regard to consultants and noncompete agreements. There was a discussion around where to draw the line with what we can or cannot put into a noncompete contract we enter into with vendors–in other words, what a vendor would agree to as far as restrictions. How far could we push our desires and still come up with regulations that a vendor would agree to–and that would hold up in a court of law.
Is a PMO an internal consulting operation? Are there differences as well as similarities between a consulting firm and a PMO? Can people working in a PMO learn from external consultants (and vice versa)? This author says yes.
Organizations are creating Centers of Excellence to facilitate agile adoption without hiring armies of consultants and risking teams losing touch with each other. The goal is to speed transformation and scaling efforts, while keeping agile principles in mind. Here’s a look at how they do it, from coaching and supporting to learning and observing.
Many, if not most, projects rely on outside suppliers — vendors, contractors, consultants — for critical activities and expertise. But these partnerships can do more harm than good if ground rules aren’t established and respeected throught the project. Here are seven factors for working successfully with your project’s external participants.
You have scratched and clawed your way to the top of your field over the past years. As a consultant your ultimate goal has always been to provide the best possible service while also increasing your skills and marketability. Now, it seems the market is flooded with consultants who have decided that they are now “looking for a little stability.” Translation: They’ll work for half of what they previously charged! Your solution: Sharpen those claws. It’s time to attack your business like you did on day one, but add in a few extra selling points to secure the contract.
This paper describes the capital project development process used by cities in the People’s Republic of China. It is a generic process used by public officials and citizens throughout this nation. The respective roles and responsibilities of public officials, development managers, project consultants, building contractors, and citizens are described in detail in this paper.
The different roles of Scrum Masters, coaches, trainers, consultants and, yes, project managers are often confusing to organizations transforming from traditional to Agile practices. Let’s take a closer look at these titles and how their responsibilities compare to one another in an emerging agile environment.
“Governance” is one of those words that consultants and managers like to throw around to make it sound like they know what they’re talking about. It is also one of the most widely misused words–if not concepts–currently employed in organizations. Why this is, what it means (and doesn’t) and what it should represent are what this article explores.
In Hollywood, awards, accolades and recognition are given to the best supporting actors. In real life, supporting players get less than their due. Consultants should remember, all roles are worth money, and the role of advisor is particularly valuable. No matter who you are, you can’t afford to work for free.
Many consulting engagements see frustrated consultants because they are not allowed to do what they feel is needed to maximize the chances of success. Here, we look at how these scenarios can be avoided–something that starts with trust.
Most technical professionals don’t give job security and loyalty much thought in this erratic economy. Yet some experts and consultants insist that job and company loyalty are essential for success.
In outsourcing work to vendors and consultants, companies must establish a pattern of behavior early in the project that covers expectations, promises and commitments, issues management and transfer of knowledge and information. Otherwise, secondhand information, unresponsiveness and other potential dangers can balloon into full-blown failure.
Clients, law firms and consultants can use project management principles to streamline digital information-gathering efforts and minimize costly coordination issues and missed deadlines. Here is a basic framework and key tools for building and honing an effective end-to-end eDiscovery project.
How to Write a Request for Proposal. A request for proposal, or RFP, is a business tool that enables companies to search for consultants or freelancers to fill a need. Putting together an effective RFP will increase the chances that you…
How to Become an Organizational Development Consultant. People become consultants because their knowledge and experience in certain fields empowers them to become experts that others turn to in times of change. Business development…
How to Become a Jury Consultant. Jury consultants, also known as trial consultants or trial scientists, are experts in assisting lawyers in criminal or civil court cases with the selection of the jury and witness preparation. A jury…
How to Create a Consulting Business. Businesses are using consultants with more and more frequency. Are you an expert in your field? Do you publish, teach or advise in a specific discipline? If you do, becoming a consultant might be a…
Scott Allen is a 20-year veteran technology entrepreneur, executive, and consultant. He has managed teams of software developers, database administrators and data architects, sales engineers, and consultants, implementing solutions for clients including IBM and Amazon. Prior to coming to About, he served as VP of Professional Services and VP of Product Management for Mongoose Technology.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – The Nebraska chapter of the American Society for Training and Development is offering its signature educational program, The Trainer’s Institute, May 17-21 in Omaha. The weeklong program is designed to help work force learning and performance professionals. Those are the trainers, coaches, and consultants who help people do their jobs well. Trainer’s Institute will be held in the Executive Centre Building of Children’s Hospital.
Walt McFarland, Founder of Windmill Human Performance, LLC, and former executive at Booz Allen Hamilton, will serve as the 2012 Chair-Elect of the ASTD Board of Directors and will assume the role of Board Chair in 2013. Mr. McFarland created Windmill Human Performance after completing a one year sabbatical during which he studied human and organizational performance, multi-cultural talent management, and organizational change at several institutions and organizations including Oxford and Harvard universities and three Fortune 300 organizations. Prior to taking his sabbatical, Mr. McFarland built a $125 million Human Resource (HR) and Learning consulting business in the federal market for Booz Allen Hamilton. He has consulted for the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, Department of Defense, and National Institutes of Health among others. Prior to joining Booz Allen, Mr. McFarland led the HR and Change Management business of Hay Management Consultants where his clients included the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Marriott, and the Federal Reserve System. He served as an employee of the Federal Government, with his last role as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense.
Providence, RI ( PRWEB) March 17, 2009 — HR Technology Solutions, the developer of the HRToolbench online suite of HR applications designed specifically for small and mid-sized organizations, has announced the release of a white paper titled, “The Day After Tomorrow: What steps should you take to prepare your company and its talent management practices for the inevitable economic upturn?” This white paper provides guidance and direction for business owners, executives and human resource professionals who are seeking talent management solutions suitable both for a difficult economy today and improved prospects tomorrow. “Many business leaders are wondering what initiatives they should work on today to guarantee future success,” said Robert Levy, president of HR Technology Solutions. “This paper shows them how to develop an effective talent management strategy that meets their workforce needs during a recession and gives them a competitive edge when tomorrow’s recovery comes.” With insight from leading human resources practitioners and consultants, this paper discusses how development of competencies should be the basis for any talent management initiative, and drafting comprehensive job descriptions based on competencies will prepare a business to meet its current and future talent needs, among other advantages. This paper discusses how to build that strategy, including: ( Read the entire release on PRWeb.)
Scott Brennan explains how a strategic hiring process that looks at developing internal candidates may be better for the long-term success of your team than always turning to outside consultants.
Welcome to another month of Simwords of the Day! Today’s word is Virtual Experience Space. I have argued that there are four types of “common” simulations out there today, branching stories, interactive spreadsheets, game-based models, and virtual labs. One emerging type of simulation genre is Virtual Experience Space. Students in traditional role plays often explore some created experience space as input to their work. This space is defined though prop documents handed out over the course of the role play, and interactions with people, including the instructor, playing assigned roles. Now, using relatively commonplace web technology, instructors can create fictitious, scalable situations using large, hypertexted, multimedia repositories for students to explore. The media can include emails, video interviews with the CEO or other clips, and PowerPoint presentations, all accessed through a common portal (or portals if there are multiple teams). Furthermore, only certain links in the repository can be open at the start of the role play. Then new links could open up based on different types of triggers. By accessing this type of space, consultants can learn enough to create recommendations, projects, and plans, even hooking up ficticious characters, that can then be evaluated by real-humans for anything from evacuation plans to new web sites to IT infrastructure to strategic plans.
(From the Seattle Times) “Dysfunction at the city’s transportation department will cost taxpayers at least $805,000 in consultants, investigations and payouts to employees, but the mayor’s office said Wednesday that the money will be well spent if it improves the department’s performance.” ( Read the entire article.)
As a gross generalization, schools hate business and businesses hate schools. Let me defend that: Schools hate business 1. Many academics view any skills that empowers an individual outside of academics as either “vocational” or “turning students into drones of capitalistic societies.” (Yet they have no problem rewarding skills that turn students into drones of academic environments.) I mention teaching subjects like “project management”and”solutions sales” to teachers and they recoil. 2. Professors are even encouraged to downplay their consulting to corporations. Even in b-school environment, what consulting is done, according the school mythology, is prostitution, a pursuit of lucre at the expense of integrity, unless it is done at the board level of a Fortune 500 company. 3. A lot of academics smile when the stock market dives, vindication of both their world view and their own personal career choice. Businesses hate schools 1. Businesses rail against classrooms, even their own training classes. Corporate people love to complain about training classes. “Classes don’t work!” “Training doesn’t teach anything.” “No one ever learned anything of important in a classroom.” Many training books and training professionals love quoting high profile individuals (such as CEO’s or brand-name consultants) hacking at classrooms, thinking “beyond the classroom.” If you listened to all of them talk, you would assume that employees are spending half of the lives trapped in basement lectures. Most people spend less time in classes than they spend waiting in line at their organization’s cafeteria. It reminds me a bit of the supporters of the a flag burning amendment. I wish people wouldn’t burn the American flag as much as anyone, but as far as I can tell, there is just not an epidemic of flag burning. And there sure is no epidemic of too much classroom training. The railing is really just posturing. 2. Business people love talking about academic reform. But when a company is performing sub-par, business people don’t talk about Xerox reform or corporate reform. They talk about change management, growth, and re-invention. They talk about “taking a short-term profit hit” to “restructure.” 3. Even amonst the corporations that do the most training, I have never seen a business sponsor an internal remedial history class, or art class, or literature class, or any kind of liberal arts experience. They say they respect it on a resume, but if you don’t arrive with it, they are sure not going to give it to you. 4. And businesses fight hard for tax breaks, which come out of school pockets. All with a big smile But both sides hide their animosity reasonably well. The development side of schools want donations from businesses. They talk to parents about preparing students for the future. Businesses want to appear helpful and benevolent and part of the community. It is only after the love-fest meetings and PR events do the real feelings emerge. And I believe the friction, the misalignment, this cold war between these two hurts students, hurts our GDP and standard of living, hurts schools, and hurts business. The Hope of T+D In our profession, literally of the people reading this blog, lies either the opportunity to bring these two worlds together, or to create a bigger wedge to push them apart. It is an opportunity (and yes, responsibility) that I hope we all consider as we present our ideas, shape our strategies, postore, define ourselves, and invest in and execute our plans.
The ASTD Leadership Handbook is an exciting compilation of insights, ideas, and tools that will enable individuals, teams, and organizations to develop their leadership capabilities. This book sets itself apart in a crowded field by emphasizing leadership development and providing practical approaches to this crucial need. Elaine Biech, the trainer’s trainer, edited this substantial – yet practical – collection that contains the wisdom, philosophies, and tools of 48 leadership experts. The ASTD Leadership Handbook presents five major sections: Leadership Competencies, Leadership Development, Attributes of Successful Leaders, Contemporary Leadership Challenge, and a broader view of the leadership discussion. The list of contributing authors reads like a “Who’s Who of Leadership Gurus” and includes such greats as Jim Collins, Len Goodstein, Frances Hesselbein, Jim Kouzes, Cynthia McCauley, Jack Zenger, and many more. The accompanying website provides a wealth of more than 30 ready-to-apply tools like John Kotter’s eight-step process for managing change, Ken Blanchard’s ethics check, and Marshall Goldsmith’s mini-survey for coaching leaders. The ASTD Leadership Handbook gives readers all the insights and applications they need to thoroughly understand and practice its principles, guided by the most respected authorities on the subject. Visit the ASTD store to order your copy. The ASTD Leadership Handbook is co-published by ASTD and Berrett-Koehler Publishers. About Elaine Biech Elaine Biech is president and managing principal of ebb associates inc., an organization development firm that helps business, government, and nongovernment organizations work through large scale change. Known as the trainer’s trainer, she custom designs training programs for managers, leaders, trainers, and consultants. Biech has been in the training and consulting field for 30 years and is the author and editor of more than fifty books. She has been featured in dozens of publications including the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Fortune magazine