Consulting – Rules of engagement

Came across this today:

Just in case if you didn’t pick it up from the Slashdot yet, here I’ve added link to a great article by Steve Friedl: http://mvp.unixwiz.net/techtips/be-consultant.html

[Valery’s blog]

Excellent advice .. here’s a distilled version

  • You must give the customer “The Warm Fuzzy Feeling”
  • “Trust” is your best job security
  • You have no job security, even if you think you do
  • A financially-struggling consultant does not give a customer “The Warm Fuzzy Feeling”
  • You are primarily in the customer service business, not the technical business
  • For a good consultant, your voice is comforting: Be very easy to find
  • Hourly arrangements of any substantial magnitude require that you have earned your customer’s trust
  • The best way to appreciate the value of a good spec is to do a project without one
  • Customers hate “unhappy surprises” much more than “timely bad news”
  • Churning by dishonest consultants is the single worst thing that has ever happened to honest consultants
  • Ongoing business is much more important than maximizing every billable hour
  • It’s better to give away some time than to throw away your reputation
  • Detail is comforting to a customer
  • If the customer doesn’t know you did work off the clock, you don’t get credit for it
  • If you routinely take ownership for your own mistakes, you’re much more likely to be believed when you claim something is NOT your doing
  • Your best advertisement is publishing of original, technical content
  • It’s a huge asset to communicate well — cultivate this skill vigorously
  • Your references are your reputation in the consulting world
  • Your customers cannot wonder where your interests are
  • Customers are comforted by consultants who don’t act entitled to their engagements
  • The customer is NOT always right
  • The internet never forgets: don’t provide dirt for your future
  • If you’re booked up solid, your rates are too low
  • Your long-term customers are your best customers
  • The best way to make a lot of money is to make your customers a lot of money
  • As long as you’re sleeping, you still have inventory
  • The fear of an empty pipeline is with most consultants constantly, even if they’re very busy
  • You must know how to read your customer
  • Your customers are buying your judgement, not just your time
  • Being known for your integrity is the Holy Grail of consulting
  • An open customer relationship cultivates “The Warm Fuzzy Feeling”
  • If you have a reputation for stealing customers, you’ll never be trusted by other professionals
  • Your references and your experience are far more important than your certifications
  • Do not BS your customers
  • “Education” is one of the best investments a consultant can make
  • Don’t quit your day job solely based on what you read here 🙂

Read the article though .. tons of advice in there.

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