“How Not to Suck at Consulting”
The name is unfortunate but the subject is not.
Consulting. More and more technical work is done by consultants, people who are free to move through the world and use their skills. They are also people who are limited, contractually, to narrow contacts with their clients.
So we are exploring this topic by sending one of our crack consulting teams to work with an international client in Hamburg Germany, a coffee logistics firm. (Which proves to be a major industry in Hamburg.) You get a chance to see what works (and what doesn’t) without facing the consequences.
- Aravinda, our attorney Sahara Ale
- Evelyn, The Business Manager Margaux Amie
- Sonya, the head of operations, Ida Debbon Ayer
- Chuck Ron Bianchi
- Florian, the Client Josh LaForce
- Vinny, the CTO Geoffrey Grier
- Kit, Chief Consultant Kit Kuksenok
- Rohit & Dirk Noah Masur
- Max Jake Minevich
- Ziggy Skippy
- Anna the intern Sarah Corbyn Woolf
The heart of the matter. Do don’t know what it is until you’ve done it. You don’t understand why it is hard, until you’ve done it internationally.
The crack cast of How We Manage Stuff prepares to depart for Germany. At one level, the problem is simple. A small German logistics firm needs some help. It’s a drama of course. But dramas are good at the exposing the heart of the matter. Almost as good as doing it yourself.
In thunder, lightening or in rain?
It is chaotic at the start. You move to new offices, meet new people and start to appreciate new responsibilities. Our podcast has been hired by a German firm – a logistics provider to the coffee industry – to review their software systems and make recommendations. They arrive on site, after a long flight, and quickly discover that they did not fully appreciate the environment in which they would have to work.
None of know what we are doing when we going into a new organization. We don’t know the history. We don’t know the power structure. Sometimes, we don’t even know the goals. (And this will lead us to one of the key questions of this series: “Who are Leena and Klara?”) Occasionally , we don’t even know ourselves.
Our podcast consulting team has beens starting work in Hamburg. Anna’s replacing a key staff member and thinking about the future. Trouble is, she does not know all that the client is thinking and might not know what to do if she did.
We have a company. We have a consulting team. And we believe we have a client, though it would seem that the client is not sure that he would have us. Days after the HWMS team arrived at BKL, it’s owner decided to go hiking in the Swiss Alps. It could be the confidence of a secure leader. It could be a brilliant strategy to get a new perspective on the business. It could also be a poor choice by a misguided manager. We take a moment to get the owner’s point of view as he walks with his friends in the Alps.
A short episode to give us a little insight into the challenges of tech consulting.
The contract. Offer. Acceptance. Consideration. That’s it.
And what does that paper mean when things start moving fast, when you jump from one meeting to the next?
And what does it mean when the client, or perhaps a representative of the client, has ideas? Where does the contract end?
Fourth episode in a series on the ins and outs of tech consulting.