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November 14, 2004

Things Your Consultant Won't Tell You...

Common Sense & Wonder has "Top Ten Things You'll Never Hear From Your Consultant".

I had to laugh.  I generally avoid consulting like the plague.  Every now and then, I get sandbagged, however. There is always a tragic disconnect between the rosy pictures painted by the sales guys and the cynical predictions of the technical people who end up delivering the work.  Looking at the CSW list, I've said three of those things to clients in the past week (tactful soul that I am):

  • I don't know enough to speak intelligently about that.
  • The problem is, you have too much work for too few people.
  • Everything looks okay to me. You really don't need me. 

Guess that's why I'm not in sales.  A few things I'd add to the list:

  • The metrics you're collecting/you've asked me to analyze are meaningless.
  • What are you trying to accomplish?  Does it really make sense?
  • Why not implement a simpler program with clearly-defined goals that is well-thought-out and understood and everyone can buy into?  Start small and build success incrementally.    Good things don't happen overnight. Take the time to define the essentials, design a program that achieves your goals with a minimum of fuss, and implement that first.
  • Measurement is important, but don't use numbers to beat good people over the head. Numbers tell only part of the story - they don't eliminate the need for intelligent human analysis and introspection.
  • The bones tell me...nothing.

- Cassandra

November 14, 2004 at 12:28 PM | Permalink


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Why are you paying me to tell you what you already know yourself.

Posted by: Rodney Dill at Nov 14, 2004 2:44:00 PM

Why do you want the study, I've already given you the solution?

(I've worked in IT and programming for 25 years)

Posted by: Rodney Dill at Nov 14, 2004 2:46:55 PM

My all time favorite management consultant conclusion was, "you need to hire me as the general manager of your Houston branch". It worked too, he was the GM of a former company of mine until they figured out that he really didn't understand the business. Now I think he sells furniture.

Posted by: Pile On® at Nov 14, 2004 3:05:52 PM

If you haven't seen http://www.despair.com/demotivators/consulting.html at www.despair.com as well as all the rest of the collection.

Posted by: Rodney Dill at Nov 14, 2004 3:28:42 PM

Rodney, I love those :) and now I understand why we have the same sick sense of humor. IT will do that to a person. You can only take so much pain...

Posted by: Cassandra at Nov 14, 2004 4:00:23 PM

I had a few up in my old office a few years ago. I wasn't used to seeing clients, but had a Dutch client come in one day. He was staring at one of them really hard, and I had this horrible fear that it was inappropriate and he was offended. Then I realized he was struggling not to laugh :)

Posted by: Cassandra at Nov 14, 2004 4:04:08 PM

One of my favorites is
CLUELESSNESS: There are no stupid questions, but there a lot of inquisitive idiots.

( or something like that )

Posted by: Rodney Dill at Nov 14, 2004 4:22:25 PM

...and they call/email me... sometimes several times a day :)

Posted by: Cassandra at Nov 14, 2004 4:31:27 PM

While I have never had a career in IT, I have dealt With the Public At Large when I worked in a bakery. That was when I found out that chocolate croissants had a calming effect on me.

One day a woman came in with a HUGE order. I filled it graciously, and with a smile, packed it so it wouldn't smash, shatter, break, leak or whatever. After I closed the last box, I asked her if there would be anything else (this was pre Christmas and a LOT of people were forgetting things because they hadn't made a list, so I asked as a courtesy to them. Sheesh!).

She GLARED at me and told me I was rude and insensitive to her needs.
She then went on to tell me that she had made a list, had everything on it filled...
and so I told her that I admired her efficiency, and what a marvel she was at being so together, etc etc.

After she left, I turned to one of the other employees and said "You know, we ought to have customer depreciation day. They come in and we get to tell them what we think of them!"

Posted by: Cricket at Nov 15, 2004 9:23:25 AM

I keep a jar of Dove Dark Chocolates on my desk to soothe the customers. Works great.
Works pretty good on my managers as well.

Posted by: Rodney Dill at Nov 16, 2004 4:50:16 PM