Filed under: Announcements
Consulting isn’t an easy business. While the consultant is often employed to assist with delivering a great project, this can quickly run into challenges and roadblocks. For example, the goal might be to deliver a portal that meets users needs, but this is hamstrung by the need to minimise customisation and to use out-of-the-box capabilities (as mandated by the IT department).
In these situations, the consultant is often forced to compromise. The methodology is reworked, the goals are adjusted, the deliverables are scaled-back. While this is often frustrating, the consultant feels that they have at least added some value (which is better than nothing at all).
Experienced consultants, well aware of this need to compromise, are often quick to find a path of “least resistance”. At the end of the day, if the client asks for something to be done a certain way (even if it isn’t the right way), they’re paying the money. So the work is done, and something is delivered, even if it isn’t great.
This can be a dangerous situation, however. Organisations (particularly large corporates, in my experience) can have very limited experience on the right way to approach projects. They are also compromising before the consultant even starts, to fit internal political demands.
So project after project is compromised. Money is spent, but user needs are not well met. Product or site designs aren’t great, hoped-for innovations are not achieved.
For our part as consultants, we are keenly aware of these challenges. In practice, we don’t want to do any work that doesn’t look to deliver a great outcome (otherwise the client isn’t going to be a great reference site!). For this reason, we have declined work on many occasions. If the project timetable is too short, the resources not available, or the methodology isn’t right, we pass on the work.
This is not to say that our approach is always right, and the prospective client’s is always wrong. Rather, it just means that we just aren’t a great fit for what the organisation is looking for, so we leave the work for another (more suitable) consulting firm.
We always raise issues where we see them, and we take responsibility for the outcome, not just the activity. This isn’t always easy, and it would be simpler to just take the path of least resistance, but it does allow us to sleep more easily at night. And at the end of the day, we can be genuinely proud of what our projects deliver.
Of course, not all projects go smoothly, and issues always arise. But at least we’ve done our best to set the project on the right path from the outset, and have fought to get the best outcome. Hopefully this is having at least a small impact on the intranets and other sites we are involved with…