Juggling Consultants

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I’m currently working with a client that is working on a complex technology implementation. They have outsourced part of their IT operations to a third party and have bought a piece of commercial software from another vendor. A third consulting firm has then been contracted to modify and implement that commercial software, and a fourth company has been brought onboard to integrate that solution with some other enterprise applications.

The project is far bigger than anything this organization would ordinarily deal with, so it has supplemented its staff with a significant number of independent contractors to work on different aspects of the project—from program management to process, from technical readiness to testing.

As you might imagine, this is a somewhat challenging environment. All of the vendors have the same ultimate goal—to deliver the project successfully; but the drivers and concerns of the different groups are not always aligned. Some of the vendors are operating on fixed price contracts, while others are working with standard tariff cards for services. Some are incented to meet certain standards or deadlines, while others are simply operating on an hourly fee basis. Even if we ignore the inevitable disagreements over which group is accountable for fixing a particular problem, it’s easy to understand that this can be a somewhat tense …

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"Critics can't even make music by rubbing their back legs together."

- Mel Brooks