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by Kesavan, H.

As consultants, we are expected to provide solutions to problems by application of (i)methodical approach to business analysis (ii)experience gained earlier from the same industry and (iii) the knowledge of industry best practices documented across the enterprise. It is a given that big Consulting companies recruit some of the best talent available around them and they also have a rich knowledge base that can be harvested for any new projects. Despite these advantages several consulting companies often fail to impress their clients with their work. Things have even reached a stage where lot of companies dread the very mention of the word "consultant" because it has now come to mean people who wastes a client's money and time to enrich their own knowledge but give no value addition to the client in return.

How sad that people in consulting industry often tout fancy degrees but lack the most "uncommon" thing in the world, namely, "common sense"! They seek to impress the client with confusing jargons and visually appealing graphics in presentations but what they fail to realize is that at the end of the day it is the quality of your work product in terms of its ability to address the client's problems that matters.

Here are some common sense tactics that a project manager could follow when he/she plans a project implementation for a client:
* Do some homework - understand the industry the client is in and its associated environment
* Read annual reports of this client company and one or two other companies in the same industry
* Find out who the subject matter experts are for this industry in your firm
* Interview them to understand how much they know about the industry and what kind of projects they had been involved with in the past
* If there are any technology experts required, solicit their profiles and interview them also
* Form a team with appropriate functional and technology experts
* Conduct an internal workshop with the identified team to explain about the problems faced by the client and their expectations. In the same workshop, also provide a forum for sharing knowledge with each other so that at the end of the workshop the technolgy experts can have a grasp of the functional aspects of the client's business and likewise functional experts can get a grasp of the benefits of the technology.
* Schedule an appointment with the client for the team to thoroughly understand and freeze the scope for the project

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