Why IT Consulting as we knew it is gone - part III

Part I can be found here.
Part II can be found here.

So it's part III and you're still with me, awesome :) Let's assume you agree with my reasoning why IT Consulting in it's previous form is a relic that has to die (or has died already). It's high time to consider the possible scenarios of (r)evolution and I'll start with my list of DON'Ts (this post) to conclude with the list of DOs (next post, hopefully the final one in the series).

Ubiquitous language

But before I'll start, let me define few acronyms - some statements will be used that frequently, that it makes sense to abbreviate them as much as possible ;>

DAF: dumb as ... a doornail ;P

DAFF: dumb as ... a double doornail ;PP

Anti-patterns of shame

  1. Full body-leasing of particular individuals - selling your particular experts' time on-demand, so they do whatever, wherever & however your clients want as their normal day-to-day job

    Why is that wrong?

    • you may make your experts in the loop like that, but what about the youngsters? how are they supposed to learn (from whom? based on what?) - how will the seniors tutor and coach juniors?
    • it effectively destroys company's culture, eliminates any kind of common identity & sense of belonging (not mentioning nullifying team-bonds)
    • because it's DAF! What are you building / improving that way (for your org)? You're just going to relatively easy money in a model where your org is redundant -> individual experts can manage as individual contractors (freelancers) on their own & they WILL do it one day: what will remain of your elite workforce is 90s-style pitiful dress code ;P

  2. Shit shoveling - getting the job that's important, but no-one wants to do it (because of its constraints, repetition, boredom, etc.). Like manual re-testing of antediluvian legacy system or re-writing few MLoC following a set, "carved in stone" guidelines.

    Why is that wrong?

    • I know people who can do such things (and even worse ones) for money, but all people who are driven by intrinsic motivations will just leave -> yes, the people who are actually the basis for the development of your organization. Congratz.
    • how are you going to acquire new talent? People expect to know WHAT, WHERE & HOW they will be doing - without that no-one serious will start any talks with you, because it's DAF!

  3. Trying to cover EVERYTHING - "we can do everything, we're experts in everything, we know everything" or rather (more frankly): "we're generalists and we have no clue what you're speaking about, but if you pay us enough, we can learn anything >grin<"

    Why is that wrong?

    • because 'learning by doing' is freakin' far from 'bringing experts on board' & nothing can replace practical experience
    • because covering everything up to the point of standing out of the competition doesn't seem feasible even for huge companies (& it doesn't make sense nowadays, when integration is so simple)
    • because it leads to a very nasty trap of avoiding up-front investment -> "there's no point in investing in X to teach him/her Y, because we have completely no idea what (s)he'll be doing next - (s)he learn in first few weeks of assignment" DAFF!
  4. Unimaginative assetization - trying to package & re-sell results of work that were never intended to be re-used in different setting (BUT: I don't mean services, but applications / assets!)

    Why is that wrong?

    • if something was not designed to be portable, there's a high chance your work will remind scraping paint from one pimped ride to glue it onto another wreck - why not master the process of pimping rides instead of this DAF? :P
    • times of huge packages are over - applications & systems of the modern day are decomposed, simple & directly tuned for particular scenario / context - your packaged application may be out-of-date even before you finish with the painful assetization
    • btw. the same applies to the mystical word "offering" - blueprint of a solution / application that has worked fine once & now some executives believe that it can be cloned unthinkingly even by monkeys at every client from here to Santiago de Chile

  5. Mystical faith in superiority of global practices - naive and totally unjustified belief that worldwide enterprise can achieve more, better, faster, etc. because they are so big (networking, global credentials, mix of talents, etc.)

    Why is that wrong?

    • so, you have an expert in Nairobi who did XYZ 2 years ago - so what? As long as (s)he can't contribute directly, who cares? It's practitioners & doers who are needed on board, not some mental or prayer support from another continent - same applies for using project credentials
    • keeping in mind the inertia of big orgs, their PoVs (Point of Views) & other internal info are usually out of date before they are published; same applies to their own "foundation architectures" or other crap (DAFF!) that's supposed to cover 50% of projects, but won't be used even once - because open communities move forward with the speed of tsunami

Part IV can be found here

Pic: © Carolyn Franks - Fotolia.com