Management Consultancy: The view from both sides

By Suki Latuske, SAP Security & GRC Manager

A recent BBC News article titled Managing the managers: The rise of the ‘philosopher-kings’ by Tim Harford, made me think about the perception of Management Consultants. Winterhawk is a boutique consultancy – each of us has had it drilled into us that the customer and value-added services are our focuses. Having been on the flip side, I also know what it feels like to be the paying client working with a consultancy, just waiting for the next little thing that needs additional funding.

Sometimes the consultancy process reminds me of a cyclist who thinks the driver is hogging the road, whilst the driver feels like the cyclist is not taking enough care. Is there any way to reach harmony?

Whichever hat I’ve worn, I’ve found the key thing is to build trust and work as a team. Understand the client’s needs, the sooner they’re articulated the better. If the scope is clear and engagement with client decision-makers is established early, then scope (and budget) creep can be kept to a minimum.

Is this a pipe dream?

Maybe, but let’s not forget the nature of projects. Whether you’re an internal or external resource you face the same challenges on a project, even though your perspective may be different. For me, the key is to work to project goals as a team and keep communication flowing with your direct reports and managers, irrespective of who is employed by whom.

Regarding that BBC article – it concluded that there are plenty of examples where money was wasted or overspent; however, the experiment detailed in the article proved that Management Consultants can add value. The trick is to keep it simple. I can see the sense in that.