10 ways to spot a good software consultant

How do you spot a good software consultant? A good software consultant could be the key for your business success and bad consultants could be very damaging and counterproductive. Here are 10 cummulative ways to spot a good software consultant (can also be read as – 10 tips for the good software consultant)

He == he | she

1) He will listen to you very carefully

A good consultant knows that we were born to this world with one mouth and two ears and there is a good reason for that ratio.

2) He will ask you questions before making his recommendation

It is sometimes annoying but a good consultant knows that finding the right solution requires lots of information.

3) He will not play the “yes man” role

If your consultant always agrees with you then A) you are too smart and do not need a consultant or B) he is trying to keep his job by always saying yes and thus not serving your best interest.

4) He will be technology agnostic

While this might be a problem for IBM, Microsoft, SUN, HP or all the other mega vendors, a professional consultant will not be religious when it comes to IT and software, he will offer you the best technology that fits YOUR needs.

5) He will think out of the box

A good consultant will try to anticipate and explore things outside of your scope of requirements, he will try (in a polite way) to extend his offer and provide you with more value.

6) He will say he does not know when he does not know

When your consultant starts to provide you with false or inaccurate information because he does not want to spend the time to research your questions, drop him. A good consultant will say “I do not know but I will find out”.

7) He will offer you a win-win deal

If your consultant offers you a deal where he presumably does not make any money (for example agile approach with fixed scope, price and timeframes) drop him. He is either stupid or malintent and in both cases not good for you. A good, professional consultant is one that makes money and you should want him to make money too.

8 ) A good consultant will have good referrals

A good consultant is someone who either has a list of happy customers or bosses that are willing to swear by him. Do not be afraid to ask for referrals.

9) A good consultant will keep you up to date even with the bad things

This is very important. If you find that your consultant has hidden project problems or hidden bad decisions then drop him. A good consultant would raise red flags when needed and work hard to overcome them, he will always provide transparency.

10) A good consultant will strive to demonstrate early tangible value

If your consultant tries to convince you into a very long term project with no tangible intermediate deliverables drop him, the world has had enough mega projects that consumed millions of dollars but never saw the light of day.

(bonus – as part of the ‘buy 10 tips get one for free’)

11) You and the consultant should have good chemistry

– This is more a subjective parameter. A good consultant (for you) is someone you enjoy working with and you both have good communication.

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Amir Shevat

Amir Shevat is the global Startup Outreach lead in Google Developer Relations (g.co/launch). Previously, Amir Led Google Campus Tel Aviv and was the co founder of several startups.

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