I hate reinventing the wheel. Rework. Whatever you want to call it. Anyways, the thought came to me today to post this because we have recently been informed that yet another consultancy will be coming in to our neck of the woods within the organization to do some “transformation work”. While the vendor will remain nameless, I will say that I have very closely followed their track record in this type of work, within this industry, in similar environments, for quite some time now. It is far from stellar.
Regardless, someone probably slept with someone or has a dirty picture lying around (just kidding – or am I?), so we’re forced to work with them. So we will probably be called upon to completely reinvent all traditional forms of project governance, communications management, and program reporting. Sounds like fun, eh? Except for one thing – we already have all of those things. So why reinvent the wheel?
Truth be told… I’m not attempting to claim that our operations in the aforementioned areas are an extremely well-oiled machine. We probably stand to improve some of our efficiency and throughput in those areas. But we do the best with what we have right now on a highly-constrained budget (time, energy, headcount, etc). I just cannot see for the life of me what they-who-shall-remained-namelss will bring to the table that will make any of our existing horsepower (i.e. our relatively small, close-knit team) gain any huge deal of goodness out of their “investigation” (read: 9 month “current state assessment” that will cost about $1M whether or not they choose to bill it to us – sometimes they have been known to offer “free work” on the expectation that they will get reciprocal projects for being so good at their “phase zero”).
So what am I going to do about it you ask?
Simple. I call it the consulting olympics. I fully intend to put this team through their paces. Because, you know what? They are not an ounce smarter than my team and me, and likely don’t have any deeper subject matter expertise than we do. I am confident in that and I am happy to admit that I know all of their tricks (and may have even seen them in action before). I know that the intent is for these guys and girls to come in and shed some crazy light on all of the areas we’ve been underperforming because they sold someone’s boss’s boss’s boss’s boss that they would be able to “help the team realize significant cost savings through more expeditious delivery of the existing programs as well as gain efficiencies in areas previously uncharted” and some blah-blah-blah. However… Everything they will come at us with is either A) already available in our existing area, B) something we have already determined doesn’t gain us any efficiency/increased throughput, or C) is something wildly irrational/pie in the sky that will never work based upon our corporate culture and existing landscape/horsepower. Far too often in Corporate America, I think people let the consultants come in (side note: I am a consultant and realize I am shooting my own foot) and tell everyone how things “should be” without real visibility into the weeds of what is really happening within an organization. Sure – if you give me a paintball gun and a corporate office, I’m sure I can fire some ink on the walls too. But it’s time that we started defending the homestead a bit more. The consultants are not always smarter.
Listen, I’m really not trying to be apathetic, pessimistic, or a poor team player. I really intend to sit in on their sessions (albeit begrudgingly) and inform them of how we are operating now. Maybe, in the end, they will indeed point out one or two things that are usable and somewhat logical. Otherwise, though, they are threatening myself, my team, and our whole corner of the organization. And I fully intend to fight to defend that turf, even though my client’s name isn’t directly on my paycheck (i.e. I was once the new guy from the outside on this block too). Also, in case you haven’t seen it, please of watch Office Space sometime. As funny a movie as it is, it is also a strikingly true satire on day-to-day life in Corporate America. Don’t let the “Bobs” ruin your shop.
Let the games begin!
Til Next Time,