Being a consultant is:
- Walking on a tight rope
- Crazy business requirements people on one side
- Poor internal dev teams (the maintenance guys) on the other side
- I try to be nice to my fellow devs, they deserve a great system to work with, not a hacked up thing
- Dual-Whip-wielding project managers chasing you from behind (think: Balrog)
- (Though to be honest, they are probably chased by stake holders)
- And if your project is slightly short on money, you might as well dose the whole circus in petrol and set on it on fire.
Mark: When you charge a fortune
Mark: The clients expect a miracle
John: So we are "miracle workers"
Mark: Pretty much
Client: We have a situation here
Client: One miracle worker may not be enough
Client: We need a team of Moses, to part the Atlantic ocean, cause this thing is sinking pretty fast
There are good consultants and great consultants.
- There are crap ones - those that talk a lot and never get anything done. To me these people should stop dirtying our work and go find something else to do - they give consultants a bad name.
- There are good ones - those that gets things done but are too expensive.
- I don't defend the cost of consultants - the service and the skills are what's being paid for. But I think a great consultant is one that gets things done, and simultaneously manages the client's expectations appropriately.
A consultant (especially an expensive one) is a secret weapon used (usually by newly-appointed upper management) to wedge open layers of old office politics to introduce change.
It is often excruciating for the consultant.
A consultant has to preach new technology, methodologies and win converts.
People do not like change. They will resist change.
Sometimes they will threaten to leave, and blame it on the consultants.
Ultimately, the company will realize the changes were for the better, but the consultant is never around by then to see the benefits come to fruition.
A process takes an internal dev guy 5 days to do. Because he needs several permissions and find a time that's suitable for everyone involved to have a meeting.
It usually takes an external consultant 2 hours to come to the same decision. Because an expensive consultant is too expensive to keep around for 5 days. Management will move mountains, switch appointment times, even *gasp* cut short their lunch break to make a meeting.
Price tag is everything.