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Consulting Anti Patterns

IT consulting is a game of delicate balance. Of course you need the right technical skills, but in a competitive environment it’s not good enough to bank on those skills alone to get you through. Consultants deal with people, as well as technology.

So, from our training archives, we're sharing 7 of GLiNTECH’s best ‘Consulting Anti Patterns’.

1. Tech speak

What do you think about Scrumban? Do SLARP, SLIP and SNAP mean anything to you?

As a consultant, you need to think about your audience before rattling off a bunch of acronyms. The reality is, a high level manager probably doesn’t care about the nitty gritty stuff - they just want simple answers. Hitting them with a barrage of detail usually only ends in confusion, frustration or an opinion that flits between being ‘dazzled with brilliance’ and ‘baffled with bullshit’.

2. Blame it on the last guy

It’s often tempting and it may even be true - but don’t do it. Consider what would happen if you criticised someone’s previous work as being ‘rubbish’ but you can’t find a way to clean it up properly. Uninformed criticism is a fantastic way to lessen your reputation - and maybe gain a couple of enemies too. Remember to be tactful until you fully understand what’s going on, then offer solutions - not criticism.

3. He said, she said...

Shifting the blame is never a good look. If you go looking for a scapegoat rather than standing up and dealing with something, others will be quick to reconsider the ways in which they deal with you. The only way to address this is through accountability. Take responsibility for your actions - even if you make a mistake - and you’ll more than likely earn respect.

4. The Ivory Tower

From your perspective, everything is going great. You’re in splendid isolation, knocking out some great code at a million miles an hour without worrying too much about anyone else. Except, when you do eventually come out of your Ivory Tower, you find that big organisational decisions have been made and directions have shifted. Now, what you’ve been doing isn’t exactly in line with everyone else. Delivering an IT project is a team game so it’s pragmatic to be involved with what’s going on within the rest of the organisation.

5. Cowboys

When cowboys rode into town without a proper plan, shooting off in every direction, there was no doubt a lot of collateral damage. So what benefits could there possibly be in doing the same thing in an IT project? Bypassing proper planning and testing can lead to lost production data or performance issues. There’s nothing wrong with being confident, but stop, plan and test properly before going into production.

6. Foot in mouth syndrome

We’ve all been there and none of us wants to go back: it’s that moment when you say something you know you shouldn’t have said. The instant it leaves your mouth the regret starts to creep in, followed by the uncomfortable tension, then the impending loss of credibility. The best way to get around this is to write everything down first, giving yourself time to reconsider. Especially when it’s a new client, especially when you’re in a meeting and especially if you’re addressing sensitive areas.

7. Over-engineering

What do you think about a family car that can travel at 200 mph? Is it a triumph of technology - to do something just because it could be done - or simply a case of unnecessary over-engineering?

The exact same applies in IT. You could spend a lot of time perfecting a piece of code, but is it agile? If you’re concentrating on something unnecessary, it means your resource is being taken away from something else and potentially impacting the overall project. Unless the brief is to take the project to the highest level imaginable, you can still create working solutions without the need for over-engineering.