Being a consultant, some of the realizations I’ve had for this practice is:
Critical thinking is the name of the game.
Lucid, concise communication (not to be confused with accent, vocabulary or how speed a person can speak) is the bedrock for moving ahead with a project. In many instances, be it verbally or over mail, the crux of the subject matter gets lost in translation owing to lack of lucidity and length of the expression. The aim should always be to speak in a language that even the school children can understand and concise enough that the listener is acutely aware of the beginning, middle and end of the communicated message.
Clarity of understanding is a non-negotiable aspect. One general observation during requirement gathering session is that these sessions start with an understanding gap between clients and the consultant. What may seem obvious for the client does not always have to be obvious to a consultant, no matter how simple or stupid a question might sound like. Many people refrain from asking such simple yet critical questions thinking of what other’s would think of the question. But it should not be so for a consultant cause for proper solutioning, a consultant has to be extremely clear with the systems, processes and people the solution would have an impact upon.
Drawing boundaries where necessary. While scoping is done with a target cost associated with the same, at times, business teams, owing to realization at a later time, may go for requesting expansion of scope within the previously discussed resources. In such a scenario, while customer is always king, a quality deliverable is something that should always be prioritized. And most importantly, taking a stand for the team in order to ensure that none burns out owing to over stretching of requirements within very limited resources.
Miscellaneous but important point: Consulting can be a demanding job especially when it comes to one’s schedule. Back-to-back meetings can lead to unavailability of time for committing towards critical thinking and proper solutioning for meeting actual business requirements. As such, where possible, meetings should be kept to a minimum, and more focus should be allotted to proper, hands-on work towards the solution design of a business challenge-after all consultants are paid to solve problems.
I hope this entry may prove to be helpful for you.
See you tomorrow!!!