Consultants are the elite of your project management. While you’re short on middle term project demands and find inadequate skills that need reinstatements, the best option is to screen and hire a potential consultant who can bridge the gap of shortcomings among the team.Onboarding a consultant essentially revolves around saving money and fulfilling inadequate skills. I have been managing over 4-6 consultants till date and for me the challenge is not in finding the expertise or screening candidates, it has to do more with managing and integrating these consultants to work efficiently. In this post, I would like to share some noteworthy thoughts that might help those in similar shoes.
1. Management: Rightfully, managing a consultant is no cake walk. I would say I am very lucky to have the current bunch of talented folks working with me that has made my life is so much easier. Managing the individual is quite cumbersome and can involve a lot of back and forth communication that seems necessary but consumes so much time and energy. Nonetheless, it has to be done to run a smooth relationship to set the right kind of expectations and make sure you are well understood.
2. Schedule/release cycle/milestone: It is important to have a release cycle kept well in place. Explicitly discussing the milestones and following well chartered plans is crucial. It requires follow up via email or other mediums that can be extremely helpful.
3. Endorse a task manager: A good task manager is the key to successful project management, infact I would promptly concur it makes life easier. We are using Asana and are extremely happy with it.
4. Testing: It is important to allot ample time for testing the code and feature development. Testing is the crux of the project and if this is incompetent the project suffers. The consultant has limited time to ensure satisfying test results and although they do their level best I would encourage an extra pair of eyes to approve testing.
5. Toolkit with the agreement: It is deftly advisable to get a list of tools to be utilized all installed on the consultants mobile/laptop once hired on board. This helps in solving issues with communications and discussion management simple and eventually making overall communications more seamless.
6. Meetup: Sometimes, when distances places your consultants away, it is important to plan meetups and socializing events to meet in person. This activity of meeting with the consultant in person regularly improves cordial relationships and encourages productivity. It serves as a bond to get to know each other and plan for future project milestones.
7. Respect is mutual: Respecting each other’s space and time and valuing one another is frugal. It is vital to understand each other and important to set expectations that both are working on the same ultimate goal.
Well-chosen and well-utilized consultants can make the difference between a project’s success and failure. The onus lies on you to utilize the consultant resources judiciously.