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7 tips to prepare for your consultants’ last day on your project

by The Tip Doctor

February 3, 2011

The Tip Doctor, Insider Learning Network.

This tip is an excerpt from the Projects 2010 session, “My Consultants Go – and Then What? Strategies, Tips and Tricks to Shorten Engagements and Prepare for the Day Your Consultants Leave” presented by Cindy Rasey of Symmetry Corporation.

Many SAP project teams call in outside consultants to help with their implementations, upgrades, and global rollouts. But how do you prepare for the day they leave?

Here are 7 tips and tricks to prepare for this inevitable departure:

1. Don’t wait for the last day – you must plan ahead

2. Consciously plan for their last day through the life of the project

3. Don’t let the excitement of the project or workload derail
this effort

4. Hold a project review (exit review) two weeks beforehand (or earlier)

  • This will give you time to adjust
  • Determine knowledge gaps
  • Compare contract deliverables to actual

5. Transition responsibility before their last day

  • If the consultant is viewed as the expert for the life of the project and gets all the questions, you need to take on that role
  • Assume that role before they leave, weeks in advance
  • The organization must support that effort
    • No back-door support during this time
  • This will help identify any knowledge gaps
    • Make this transition before the exit review

6. Establish an ongoing relationship before the last day

7. Use consultants as mentors, not contractors

  • Probably need them as contractor early on in project to get project rolling
  • At some point, make the transition to mentor
    • Get them more focused on knowledge transfer rather than execution
    • Don’t wait until the last minute
      • Start at least halfway through your project
  • The last few weeks should be mentoring exclusively
    • Have them perform “maintenance” tasks with their free time

For more from Cindy Racey, see her article in Project Expert.  You’ll find more project management resources, advice and tips on Insider Learning Network.  For detail s on SAPinsider’s Projects 2011 event in Las Vegas, November 2-4, 2011, join the Projects Conference group on Insider Learning Network.

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William Newman

9/25/2013 8:52:02 PM

This is a great article, thanks to Cindy for contributing. One of the litmus tests for any consulting firm is what are they going to do to transfer knowledge and tasks to the organization prior to departure. This is really the difference between a "consultant" - one who temporarily advises management and coaches teams - and a "contractor" or "vendor" - whose goal is to be a permanent resident to your company. Many large consulting firms behave like "vendors" and "contractors" and often lose their ability to render independent (and often time unpopular) advice to their clients, in favor of maintaining a billable revenue stream. Great abstract.