TechRepublic Brings the Consultant AdviceWritten on October 14, 2011
TechRepublic is one of our favorite sites out there for news, opinions, and advice on everything IT. And while it’s a fantastic source of information about the industry at large and the major players in the tech world, we’re particularly fond of the site for their particular attention to the IT consulting industry.
On that note, we’d like to share some of the excellent articles we’ve enjoyed from TechRepublic on different aspects of IT consulting.
The first is an article that itself references a slew of other posts discussing the difference between a consultant and a contractor. These terms can overlap in day-to-day discussion, and the article linked there seeks to take some of the ambiguity out of the equation. Being clear on titles and responsibilities will clear up any potential misunderstandings and confusion. Check out How IT Consultants are Different From Contractors.
Next we have an excellent article from Brad Egeland titled Don’t Blindly Solve a Client’s Perceived Needs. An all too common fallacy to slip into as a consultant is trying to please the client at any cost. As anyone in the consulting industry can attest, clients don’t always know what exactly they need…even if they think they do. And sometimes their ideas are counter-intuitive. Our job as consultants isn’t just delivering what the client thinks they need; it’s about helping them understand and achieve greater success.
And just as sometimes a client needs protection from themselves, so too do we consultants need to keep some self-perspective. No doubt we all consider ourselves to be ethical, well-intentioned professionals – but sometimes even the best consultant can slip into some bad habits. Fortunately there are great advice articles such as Chip Camden’s Don’t Play Dirty Consultant Tricks. Your reputation as a consultant (and consultancy) is one of your greatest assets – be sure to evaluate and nurture it frequently.
Finally we have some of the best all-purpose, general advice out there in another article from Chip Camden. He identifies five aspects of being a great consultant – Listen, Learn, Question, and Think Before You Consult. While we are engaged for our professional experience, business acumen, and technical skills – we can never assume we have the right answers immediately. As Camden puts it “If you offer your client advice without first doing each of the above, then no matter how smart you are or how long you’ve been in the business, your counsel is recklessly uninformed.”
By having your daily-recommended dosage of sound advice like you’ll find on TechRepublic, you’ll do your company and your clients a great service. Remember, no matter how versed we are in our field; there’s always more to learn.