Welcome to part IV. Le Grande Finale. The long-awaited Omega. Conclusion of Delusion. Etc.
The one & only goal remaining is to answer the last question:
What could ... should ... HAS TO be changed in modern IT Consulting to adapt to current situation?
Get. Set. Go:
Work in long-lasting, stable & fixed (small) teams
No more rapid team forming for each deal. No more last-minute "who's available" queries. Long-lasting teams are an absolute must, mainly because:
- managers/leaders feel a real incentive in participating in recruitment activities -> which should always have been one of their KEY responsibilities
- people have actual chance to learn from each other, synergize & utilize team potential
- long-term goals & responsibility are shared -> which greatly helps in coordinating the way people contribute (not mentioning the motivation)
- sales <-> delivery dissonance is likely to get reduced or even disappear (if team is full x-disciplinary & participates in full endeavors since the beginning to the very end)
Specialize (T-shaped specialization)
Teams should consist of so-called generalizing specialists or (in other words) versatilists - people who DO have a broad, general knowledge up-to some (limited) degree but they have also a very clear, narrow area they specialize in (and are really good at). The overall idea is presented here. Obviously:
- such people are supposed to follow a set specialist-specific career path (that usually doesn't peak in manager-type roles)
- employer is expected to actively support specialization development (trainings, materials, software, hardware, etc.)
- specializations WILL DIFFER - company-wide policies and rule-sets can't strangle / derail these differences
- compensation (wages & benefits) should be based on actual skills & capabilities of providing value, not years spend in company
- needless to say - people don't have to re-specialize for each project, unless they are up to it
Build the corporate culture bottom-up
Instead of forced policies & announced PoVs, organization should support & facilitate bottom-up innovation & continuous improvement efforts - you're not hiring best & smartest people to tell them what they have to do (& how they have to do it). Instead of pushing the decrees down, give people all means to effectively communicate, cooperate & share good practices.
- no set, prescribed training paths; training budget instead (usage up to the employee)
- simplification (flattening) of hierarchies -> especially eliminating anaemic subordination paths that are only constraining (redundant or aimed for sole control only - like zillions of "leads" who haven't ever led anything ;P)
- loosening the ties (dependencies) between parallel units -> to make them follow what's proper in their own, specific case over standardization & one, uniform approach
Make sure you get proper people aboard
Focus on mentality of people you hire - what are their motivations (intrinsic or extrinsic?), what they want to achieve & whether they are able to effectively collaborate with others. And to keep them, maximize the transparency so they are sure that they are in the correct place or not. Start with following some basic rules:
- hire for attitude, not skills
- don't delegate recruitment to HR - they should cover logistics for recruitment only
- enable (& encourage) internal marketing & internal recruitment - that motivates people to actually CARE about making their company a better place to work
- support & help shaping "servant leadership" model over "feudal management" one -> distinguish project "accounting" from leading people, helping them develop & perform effectively
A-type people really want to work with other A-type people & they don't want to waste their precious time.
This model helps a lot with setting things straight for proper maintenance & development. It's also much more flexible in terms of costs, entry threshold & inertia (for instance: infrastructure or location where delivery / maintenance team is based). There are few additional pros worth mentioning as well:
- integration gets easier: mainly due to forced API creation
- the way the changes are delivery is FAR more flexible (as long as API doesn't change) - development cycle would be far less bound to service introduction at particular clients
- service granularity (& charging model) is far less limited than in on-premise scenario
...-as-a-Service model is the way to assetize value in XXI century: there's no doubt about that.
And if due to any constraints you can't ...
... adopt a path like that, be honest about that. With your employees & with your clients. What does it mean? Admit that what you're providing is just basic body-leasing of various individual professionals with all its consequences
On PLUS side:
- simplification of models (contractual, charging)
- clear expectations
- reduced responsibility (for instance: governance)
On MINUS side:
- barely any sense of belonging & employee loyalty / engagement
- huge employee turnover (attrition)
- being highly dependent on job market fluctuations
- big change in the way you're perceived (prestige)
- what you're "monetizing" is actually your recruiting skills, as you're not "enriching" people you hire in pretty much any way
Pic: © Adam Radosavljevic - Fotolia.com