Both new and established companies face many challenges when it comes to getting their technology right. A company’s team is its lifeblood, and selecting the right people to help execute the vision and accomplish business goals is crucial.
Many companies today are hiring outside experts to get a different perspective, extra horsepower, and unbiased specialized expertise across multiple functions. In fact, more than twice as many U.S. tech companies today are turning to outside consultants to help support their tech needs than in 2013, according to BDO’s 2015 Technology Outlook Survey.
Consultancy firms can help with everything from one-off projects for companies that don’t have enough time to pull together a team, to long-term projects that require a team with deep experience in an emerging or cutting-edge technology. Hiring a consultancy group can benefit early-stage companies by enabling them to focus on their business and products first, instead of on recruiting software developers. Established companies can benefit from a highly skilled and business-oriented external team that is ready for fast-paced product development and able to quickly adopt the company’s methodology, infrastructure and process.
Selecting the perfect consultancy firm may seem daunting at first. In this slideshow, Theo Nissim, CEO at Gemini Solutions, has identified five tips to keep in mind when choosing and working with a consultancy company.
Tips for Working with a Consultant
Click through for five tips organizations should keep in mind when choosing and working with a consultancy company, as identified by Theo Nissim, CEO at Gemini Solutions.
A Good Fit
Make sure it’s a good fit.
A selective, thorough approach to hiring a team will result in exponential benefits for both product development and overall team morale. Keep in mind that a close, trusting relationship between a company and a consultancy firm will result in the greatest success. Consider how the consulting company’s culture will work with your own and, if possible, speak with people who will actually be on the team to see if they’re a fit. Ask the consulting company how they’ve approached past projects that are similar to your own to give you an idea of the working relationship.
Think as granularly about the project as possible so you aren’t surprised by anything down the road. Do you need a very hands-on team? Can your working structure or schedule be flexible? What development methodologies are a must-have? While it may take a little more time and effort, making sure you’re selecting the right firm from the start will result in a smoother ramp-up and integration process.
An Extension of the Team
Embrace consultants as an extension of the team.
Even the best consultants can quickly become discouraged if they feel like they aren’t part of the team. If you aren’t transparent with the consultants and don’t accept them as a true extension of your team, they will never be close enough to the project to completely understand it. Both teams are working together toward the same goal, so they should be privy to the same information and treated the same.
From the beginning, educate the consultants on your team about the greater picture of your product or service, and how they play a role in your success. Communicating your vision and welcoming them to your team will create more trust and appreciation, as well as the start of a lasting relationship.
Communication Is Key
Since the consultancy firm may be in a different location, it is crucial to keep open, constant lines of communication to link your company with their consultants. Encourage the consultants to ask questions at any point during the project lifecycle to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the project is moving forward as planned. Also, provide regular feedback on their work to motivate them for a job well done and to make them aware of any areas they may need to work on.
Communication is a two-way street, so keep an open mind to what the consultants have to say. Consultants are very skilled, experienced people and may have suggestions for ways to speed up a project or an alternate method of getting a task done. Be open and receptive to their technical proposals and it may help the project move ahead more smoothly.
Trust the Team
Trust does take time to build, but make an effort to trust your consultancy firm as early in the project as possible. Consultants typically have a wealth of experience and deep technical knowledge, so are comfortable taking projects and running with them.
While open and frequent communication is great, make sure that it’s not turning into micromanaging a project. Trust that the consultants have a firm grasp of their marching orders and that they will get in touch if they have questions on anything. Remember, these people are now an extension of your company, so instill the same trust in them that you have with your internal team.
Try New Things
Don’t be afraid to try new things.
Your consulting firm should be aware of the latest technologies and should know which technologies are best suited for a given project. This is something you will want to take advantage of. While you are the ultimate decision maker on your projects, consider a consulting company’s technical suggestions for a competitive edge. They could make your project that much more successful in the end and set your company apart from its competitors.
Also, consider switching some of the roles of your company’s team and the consultancy firm between projects and technologies. They are highly knowledgeable and skilled across a variety of technical areas, so switching up the work will provide the opportunity to solve different problems and take a fresh look at the tasks, especially if it’s a long-term project.