Monday, Feb 14 2011

Dear Consultants: No Assessments Please!

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It's obvious from past posts that I have a issue with traditional linear, cyclic or waterfall methods to implementing change. I promise to get off my consulting soapbox after this postand more onto Cloud specific observations/commentary. About 10 years ago I was involved in alot of activity in “selling without presentations”, which is all about, listening and not talking, knowledge and not marketing, getting to execution quicker. A similar trend needs to take hold in the consulting field. The cost vs. value equation in consulting is imbalanced and it is negatively impacting the ability for enterprises to leverage external resources to tranform IT architectu and adopt the cloud architectural patterns.

So I am not naive, the first rule of consulting is to understand your problem. It is essential to gather information for a few reasons;
  • being able to provide a good solution for the customer (I hope this is always the primary)
  • providing a accurate as possible estimate of effort for a competitive price
  • reducing the risk and therefore the possible margin erosion

no-santa-listThe preferred tool is almost always an “assessment” against some sort of artifical framework or maturity model. This is the unfortunate thing because it assumes consulting (and I’m not talking product attach services) is about implementing a quantitative solution.  The source of this folly comes from the roots of enterprise consulting in the big five firms. It all dates back to accounting audit practices, which then tranformed into business consulting and IT consulting. Auditing is all about making a list and checking it twice. Consulting is about transformational change in a environment which a high complex array of people, culture, process, technology. So assessments are a concept of yesteryear, and if someone is offering this as a first step, then reconsider the strategy.

The basic premise needs to change (below);


The starting point in this “new consulting method” is to bring those two perspectives together as equals.  As I mention in my previous post on The Fast Track to the Cloud this happens either;

  • sharing of documents.  if both sides have their capabilities documented
  • and/or a workshop where the ideas, opinions and solutions are discussed
Some basic principle of this consulting are;
  • leverage the knowledge of people
  • use existing data, don’t create it (artifically created data cannot be accurate)
  • minimize disruption of work-in-progress
  • execute and iterate

Together the information is analysed and a mutually beneficial solution created.

No assessments, no presentations. no maturity models…. This is the way to the cloud..

Get in, Get it Done!!

Contributed by: Brad Vaughan