I’ve got a bit of a thing for medical television programs, drama like Holby City, comedy like Scrubs, and the somewhere in between like Grey’s Anatomy. One of the things that fascinates me about these shows is the concept of a “consult” or a specialist in a particular area – when they talk others listen, mostly because they have a wealth of experience and their job is to share it.
Compare that to the computer business where calling someone a consultant is almost an insult and an opportunity to complain about their rates and speculate on the quality of their work. There is obviously a difference in how consultants are perceived in the two industries, but is the bagging that consultants get in IT really justified?
Every now and then I come across an engagement where I feel that I’m not necessarily providing value for money, I try to change that and if I can’t I attempt to terminate the engagement. One of the things that I can use to provide value for money is re-use pre-written research that I have done into various things and present it to the client in a fraction of the time it would take me to write it from first principles.
Most of the clients are happy with this approach as it allows us to step over that issue and keep driving to the core of the issue that I’ve been engaged to address, but every now and then a client wants me to “show working”. Back in high school my Maths teacher used to always tell me to show working (or rather show _better_ working), and it made sense, after all I’m trying to prove that I didn’t just use a calculator – but in a corporate environment, doesn’t it make a lot of sense to use pre-worked resources to get some leverage?
If you don’t – why did you hire a consultant?