Consultant Pricing


Consultant Pricing

Prices vary widely for consultants, so its pays to shop around. It's important to find one with the right skills and qualifications. In general, the highest-priced consultants come from vendors. Most offer consulting services primarily to enable further sales of their products. Unless there is a compelling reason to work directly with a vendor's consultants, you may find a better value elsewhere.

It is important to ask for and check references when using consultants. Also, find colleagues who have used the consultant, and ask about their experience. Ask the consultant about her prior consulting experience. Ideally, you want a consultant who has worked in situations similar to yours. Be sure to meet with the consultant who will be working on your project before you sign the contract. Introduce the person to key members of your project team. Good chemistry between team members and a consultant is important, especially for high-level process consulting.



Summary

Retaining a consultant can be a positive experience that fills in the gaps on a project team. Consultants can provide the changing agent needed to transition your organization to a new methodology or way of doing business. Keep in mind the following points from this chapter:

  • A consultant's price does not necessarily indicate quality. It is far more important that a prospective consultant have experience with engagements and tasks or goals similar to the ones proposed on your project.

  • The relationship between the project team and the consultant is as important as the consultant's qualifications. This is even more important when the consultant is engaged as an expert process consultant. If key individuals on the team do not work well with the consultant, they will be less open to learning from that person. This can be a showstopper for a successful engagement.

  • Always be prepared for consultant visits. Review the project schedule and verify that any prerequisite tasks needed before a consultant visit are completed before the consultant arrives. Otherwise, the consultant's time (and your project money) is wasted in unproductive pursuits by the consultant.

  • If you have consultants engaged in a staff augmentation model, try to give them the same resources and furnishings you would provide to any other team member. The key is to allow the consultant to become part of the team and to act as any other team member. Avoid providing substandard equipment and furnishings "because the consultant is not an employee."



What's Next?

Team members learn many lessons during a project. Whether it's information about applying a certain technology or method, or simply ways to interact effectively with a certain customer, these lessons learned can be effectively applied to other projects. For this to happen, these lessons learned must be captured and instilled in the company's corporate memory. The next chapter discusses these and other activities that should be conducted as part of a project's postmortem.



Chapter 15. The Project Postmortem

For an organization to improve its ability to develop software, it should take the time to reflect on a project's successes and failures. Even failed projects have some successes, and projects considered successful often have some failures. The purpose of a project postmortem is to collect the lessons learned, instill them in the organization's memory, and apply them to the next set of projects. This chapter discusses the best practices for this process.