Why do consulting projects fail?

Consultants gained acceptance at the business level, but they forgot to work with information. I vividly remember an engagement where a manufacturing process consultant and I were working together to solve a difficult problem. The client's IT systems were exhausted to the max, and business consultants were crying out for a completely new, less expensive and more flexible system. We needed to figure out how to keep old systems running long enough to replace them without the need for an expensive upgrade.

If we had stayed in our own functional silos, afraid of learning something new, we would never have realized that changing the process first meant that the old computer system had to work less. I only had to track 20% of what I had been tracking. This meant that our customer had enough time to replace the system without the expensive “disposable” upgrade. Socrates was declared the wisest man in all of Athens by the Oracle of Delphi because he knew what he didn't know.

Skeptical, Socrates set out to test the Oracle by questioning community experts. He found that, while the best minds in the city were experts in their fields, they all made the mistake of speaking as if they had the same knowledge outside their areas of expertise. The city's experts were carried away by arrogance. Competence and wisdom are not synonymous.

In some ways, people have changed little over the past 2000 years. That a consultant knows what he doesn't know is as important as knowing what he does know. When a consultant and the company work hand in hand and strive to achieve a common goal, the results are spectacular. If the “why” of the project is not documented, its objectives are often misaligned with the objectives of the business strategy and the strategic vision of the company in general.

On average, 37% of business process change projects offer no benefits, which can also be attributed to data that 35% of organizations abandon a major project in the last 3 years before its completion. Consultport is a platform that provides companies with on-demand access to first-level independent consultants and digital experts. If the right consultants are hired and they receive the full support of the company, the chances of things going wrong are very slim. Unfortunately, project management is a highly underrated discipline and, all too often, business leaders don't recognize the impact that adding “project manager” to a BAU position can place significant pressure on their employees if the corresponding compensation for disruption or focus on both is not included.

Both the company and the consultant have a shared responsibility to make their consulting contract successful. Most major consulting firms know that they must have the participation of executives and an executive sponsor for change initiatives. Even if you find the best consultants for your company, they won't be able to do their best without the support of the team. It is one of the most recurring themes in project failures and, if we look at any recent research, changing requirements (or the increase in scope) are cited as a common reason for making a project fail.

As COVID and the impact on companies caused many teams to switch to hybrid or remote work, many organizations have reported that the change has brought some real benefits to their business projects, despite a crisis like none other we have seen in recent times. However, some companies may think that their only function is to process the consultant's invoice and the rest will take care of everything. Even if the consultant is competent and has achieved results before, the company's intention in hiring him will definitely play a huge role in his performance.

Trent Monserrate
Trent Monserrate

Friendly social media enthusiast. Subtly charming web nerd. Passionate zombie buff. Subtly charming gamer. Extreme zombie ninja.