(Source: BUSINESS | The Ultimate Resource, 2002, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.)
Checklist for prospective users of consultants
1. Involve senior management from the beginning
2. Be aware of the number and scope of management consulting firms
- Some offer a wide range of services, while others specialize in particular industries, certain areas of business activity, or smaller or larger organizations.
3. Prepare a shortlist of possible consultants
- Personal recommendation is a common method of finding consultants; you can also consult directories and registers. Make sure you obtain references from previous clients to establish a consultant’s track record.
4. Ask shortlisted consultants for a preliminary survey
- This could be free, although in certain circumstances a nominal charge may be made. It should enable you to establish the extent to which the consultant can help you, the likely benefits, and the duration of the job. It should also help you to study the consultant’s approach to the problem and to your organization. Ask for a written report of the survey.
5. Study the consultancy proposals submitted .See if the followings are included:
- An understanding of your situation or need
- A program of work
- An indication of the consultant’s management style and approach
- Resources required (Time, Information, Equipment, etc.)
- Estimates of fees and costs
- A summary of the results and benefits to be achieved from the project
6. Explain to staff why a consultant is being employed
- All staff concerned must be fully briefed on why a consultant has been appointed, when the consultant will arrive, and what kind of co-operation is required. Appoint someone as the main contact with the consultant.
7. Ask the consultant for regular progress reports
- Measure actual progress against the agreed objectives of the assignment. Ensure that your requirements are not being overshadowed by the consultant’s preferences.
8. Have a debriefing session before the end of the consultancy
- Make sure the consultant summarizes the findings and conclusions of the project either in a report or in a presentation. Ensure that there are no misunderstandings or errors.
9. Assess the consultant’s effectiveness
- Check that the new development and procedures proposed are being implemented and properly applied, and that they are not being undermined by old methods and concepts. Discuss with staff concerned any particular difficulties that arise during implementation. Regularly examine the results being achieved and insist on follow-up visits from the consultant at appropriate intervals after completion of the project.