Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Consultnik no more.

I should probably mention for the tiny minority of readers who don't know me that I'm not actually consulting anymore. I chose to contract directly about a month back as I got a particularly good offer at the right time and the time overheads of doing internal consultancy work and client work at the same time weren't compatabile with finishing off my MBA, while not compromise my religious learning.

It was excellent though - and I fully intend to send my resume back to the consultancy that employed me if I ever decide to go back to consulting. They are a great company.

P.S. My previous post comes out of thoughts I had about how to sell BAs as a service in a consultancy environment separate from delivery work, its just a coincidence that these posts are next to each other. No criticism of anyone intended.

Foxes & Henhouses

When you're beginning an important IT project you're no short of friendly Consultants, System Integrators, Product Vendors, and Outsourced Providers who are willing to offer their advice and help; all with the projects best interests in mind. Many of these provider will also provide you with Business Analysis services to aid in the execution of your project.

However there will come a time when the requirements of the business conflict with the interests of the stakeholders delivering the project, and your Analysts will always be in the center of these discussions – and whose side do you want them to be on?

How can your vendor supplied Analysts deal with a situation where the product they are selling doesn't meet your needs? How often has a consultancy sourced BA suggested anything that doesn't involve follow-up work for their consultancy? How often does a System Integrators BA ever advocate for a scope-increase, even when it's justified?

All of these conflicts of interest come to a head later in the project, typically around a table trying to civilly decide if a given change is a bug or a change request while everyone mentally calculated how much budget is left in the project, and how much slack was built into the profit margins anyway.

The horrible thing is that none of this is conscious - everyone always tries to do whats right. It's just that your views are so conditioned by the influences of your peers and your background.