Tech & Work
Taking on the role of IT consultant can bring enormous satisfaction—along with plenty of challenges. This ebook provides advice from veteran tech consultants who share the ups and downs they’ve experienced over the years, as well as practical tips for establishing yourself in the field.
From the ebook:
IT consulting is a difficult, complex industry. I’ve seen numerous competitors enter the market, only to fail. Everyone from large electronic chains (does anyone remember CompUSA’s business consulting effort or Circuit City’s Firedog initiative?) to local independents have come and gone. Despite frighteningly large marketing budgets (including symposium sponsorships, television commercials, and print advertising), complex marketing strategies, splashy fleet vehicles, and eerie team-building propaganda, competitors often fail within just months.
And there’s a reason. IT consulting is a dynamic, ever-changing industry that requires practitioners to maintain multiple skills. Rapid technological shifts frequently change the way you work, the tools you use, and the operational procedures you require. To meet that challenge and stay in the game, you must learn early on how to avoid some of the more preventable pitfalls. Here are 10 mistakes that consultants often make when they’re starting out.
Underestimating total project time
None of us is perfect. Unforeseen issues always arise. There are no “simple” projects. Consultants must take those issues into account when preparing project cost estimates.
The very first time I ever estimated a simple Windows Small Business Server rollout for a client with seven employees in two locations, I budgeted eight hours to “deploy the server.” In developing my estimate, I included time to unbox and install the server, set up DNS, configure the VPN, join the second location to the VPN, register the domain name, configure MX records, create data shares, set permissions, and configure and test email accounts. Let’s just say it took longer.
New consultants must be particularly careful to review project plans before settling on a final estimate that is forwarded to the client. Such estimates should be run by veteran IT staff for feedback whenever possible.