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  • Consultants: Always in The Know


    Experts in their respective fields with considerable knowledge and experience are referred to as Consultants. Frequently, outstanding consultants have a wide range of knowledge that not only enhances their specific areas of expertise but also offers new alternatives to additional situations.


    Successfully working with consultants entails several important aspects, the most important probably being good communications. While good communications is important for any business, with consultants it is essential. It is through these communications that you relay your business needs to the consultant (and how in turn, the consultant helps provide the solution). The success of almost every project lies upon the understanding by the consultant of the company's business and project goals. For this reason, you should know beforehand the specific goals of what you want to accomplish. A detailed scope document is usually very helpful. Furthermore, should the project go off track, a project scope document will help pinpoint where the problems occurred and help facilitate corrective measures. 


    Outstanding consultants can often greatly enhance a project's scope since they possess specific expertise in their area of specialty, substantial experience and significant general knowledge. This combined expertise helps ensure that the design and implementation is solid and meets all project goals and specifications. This is particularly important when projects are asked to perform under much greater stress or with many additional functions than what was originally envisioned. I sometimes equate this to a building; if the foundation is solid, many floors and features can be built upon it. However, if the foundation is flawed, additional floors and features can cause collapse - and the need for rework at a tremendous cost of time and money.  


    You know your business and needs better than the consultant. Whatever decisions and paths you take, you and your business are the ones that have to live with it. Staying involved with the project and retaining decision responsibility helps ensure that project goals are understood and met.  Finally, make sure you learn from the consultant. Having the consultant explain certain aspects of what has been done and most importantly, what you can do and need to do once the consultant is no longer actively working on your project will great facilitate acceptance and use of the completed project. Rated outstanding consultants can greatly help companies and provide excellent value. Being able to work with them before, during and after a project will help ensure long term success.


    Avoiding the need to rework any project positively effects productivity. Since reworking a project usually incurs many additional expenses - sometimes more than double the initial cost - and much extra work and lost time, it should be avoided, if possible. First, it often requires the assembly of a new team or set of experts - a painful and time consuming step. Second, it requires a new assessment of the project design and plan, implementation, percentage of completion including what still needs to be done, and what needs to be fixed. Frequently, it is often cheaper and easier to start over than to attempt to fix a major problem. Having to rework a project may also result in additional complications and complexities particularly if it is subject to outside influences. Furthermore, if there is a problem with the initial design, subsequent changes or additions may not be possible without massive revisions.


    Rework should be avoided, if possible. It can have many negative effects on a company's bottom line, potentially reducing value and morale. Conversely, by carefully planning and finding outstanding consultants, much rework and unnecessary tribulations can be avoided while creating a foundation for excellent prodinst and enhanced value.