What Consultants Deliver
As consultant, you'll want to make sure you deliver something of value in exchange for the fee you charge. This deliverable can be one or more of the following.
- New information, knowledge, or skills.
- Changes in client organization, policy procedures, or practices.
- Helping the client feel a sense of urgency by helping them “feel the pain” of not changing or to “see the gain” of taking action. This type of deliverable can come in the form of impact studies, vision planning, opportunity analysis, compliance reviews, persuasive reports, or presentations.
- Assessing the level of readiness to act. Methods to achieve this include benchmark studies, strategic planning, staffing reviews, skills assessment, capacity planning, and change management.
- Educate clients on how to perform new processes, providing coaching, and installing systems.
The type of deliverable is determined before the consulting engagement begins. Even purely exploratory projects have a deliverable in mind. And of course, the client's satisfaction with your work will depend largely on how close you hit the mark with what you produce as well as how valuable the deliverable is in relation to the fee paid.
The first thing that a consultant should delivery is SUCCESS, otherwise what value do you provide versus the additional cost. Second, experience - if you don't know what you are talking about then why is the customer hiring you.
Back in the 90's we went to a prior of time where using "Consultant" as a title became a joke due to way overuse and everyone was a consultant - even the kid just out of vocational school with his MCP or Java Developer certification. Now finally all those faux-consultants have moved on or realized you can't be a consultant by reading a book and passing a test.
Those of us that survived this period are still spending the hours to maintain our skills and doing the 60-80 weeks to make the customer successful. So, wear the title of consultant with pride but at the same time remember this is a title that is earned rather than given.