This is an adapted excerpt from my new mini e-book How to Kill a Consultant. The excerpt is from the Chasing Paper section of the e-book and is a sarcastic dialog which represents a common scenario for consulting firms that “specialize” but when it comes down to it they take whatever contracts they can.
Consulting sales people need to make their commission and get whatever signed paper they can - regardless of the work, price, duration, etc. Signed paper is what they are chasing and this helps in the killing of a consultant for sure.
Prospect: So now I see your consulting firm has various specialties - very good. My problem is not using a technology you focus on and I am not in the building stages. You see, I have some hacked programs and processes that are all fucked up and need someone to come in and clean it up because I don’t feel like dealing with this shit.
Sales Person: Oh great! Yes we have people to bill on your project and deal with your fucked up systems as long as you pay us and sign this contract. That’s all I really care about is this signed contract. I’ll get my commission and we’ll send in some guys for you. They’ll hate the work and slave over all your bullshit processes but both you and I won’t have to worry about it anymore.
Prospect: That’s great! I really need your best guys but since this isn’t a hot technology, I am not paying you that much as a billable rate. I can get someone else probably cheaper. So I want your best guys at the lowest rate possible.
Sales Person: Yes some of our best guys are coming off a project as we speak and since we don’t want to pay them for sitting on the bench and increasing their value in their specialty, we’ll stick them on your fucked up project and stress them out a bit. They want to bill those extra hours I am sure. They’ll love it here. Like I said, once you sign that contract I am out of here and I don’t give a shit what happens afterwards. It all becomes technical after that. I need to find some other fucked up project.
Consultant: So now I am working on some fucked up process using a technology I have no clue about and really don’t care about. I will bust my ass worrying about this bullshit client all while losing my edge on my specialty areas. At least I am getting paid for those billable hours - . plus I get to deal with this shit for 50 hours a week to boot. I will have no time to keep up with technology I am passionate about yet my firm will still see me as an expert. Two years later when I am off this project I’ll finally be put on a project using my technology and I will have forgotten every single thing about it. I love my job!
So basically signed contracts are king and it really doesn’t matter what the contract is for or what technology is being used. Signed paper is signed paper and the sales people chase it for a living. That’s all that matters because at the end of the day it results in more billable hours. There is just one expense - the killing of a consultant.
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