Friday, September 22, 2006

Computing Thoughts

IT Consulting becomes extremely popular. But there is no common opinion on what consulting is. Bruce Eckel thinks consulting is when you have some kind of special expertise - come by through hard struggle and learning - that you transfer to a group of people, in a relatively short period of time, and in a way that is unique for that group.
He also considers there is quite enough consultants and consulting companies which don't provide value for the customers effectively and the reason for that lie in the scalability problem.
Perhaps the problem comes down to this: consulting doesn't scale. It involves a lot of study and struggle. The consulant needs to pay for the time he spends on his own while struggling with these ideas, he must charge a premium when he visit a client.
Bruce also thinks consulting is first and foremost a human activity, and I agree with him that the primary motivation must be in improving the quality of the client's experience. One reason that the consulting fee must be relatively high is that this experience is a rare thing, both for the consultant and for the client, and the consultant is being paid for the unpaid time that he or she invests. But this form of consulting doesn't scale, not even on an individual level. A consultant who spends all his time on the road is not allowing the time for reading, communicating and reflection that I consider essential to maintain quality. Installing the same techniques in the same way from company to company is something, and it may have value, but it isn't what I would call consulting. This is a craft.

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