The Consultant's Dilemma

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.

Every industry has its share of consultants—experts who make a living helping organizations find ways to improve how they operate in certain areas. Of course, some of those consultants are more expert than others (and I’m sure we’ve all got experience of both the good and the bad).

However, it has always struck me that project management is an area where being a consultant is hard. Of course that’s a somewhat biased perspective—because I’m a consultant, but project management is an extremely diverse discipline. What I mean by that is if you compare project management in one organization with project management in another, there will be a lot of differences—and that makes it difficult to have a level of expertise that meets the needs of every potential client.

Of course there are a lot more similarities in the way project management is executed in different organizations than there are differences, but the similarities are generally in the fundamentals—the basic and foundational skills that are not where organizations are looking for consulting help. For example, while most organizations can find ways to improve the quality of planning or estimating, very few are going to reach out to external consultants to help them address planning or estimating deficiencies. Where organizations are looking for assistance from consultants …

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