Monday, December 08, 2008


Management Consulting and Enterprise Software Projects

I was talking to an architect who is employed by a company down the street about the latest debacle architecture rolled out by a management insultancy in attempts of convincing him that the phrase: you get what you pay for still holds true...

Let's begin by asking ourselves what is the difference between a $25 an hour offshore developer in India and a $200 an hour onshore developer that may be employed by a management consulting firm such as Accenture, Bearingpoint, etc. If both of the developers have only been in IT for a handful of years, then the answer obviously isn't experience. If both firms encourage their folks to move up the ladder into some form of management/sales then the obvious answer isn't access to folks with more experience than them. So, this begs the question of why are most clients of these firms expecting more than what they pay for?

Can we acknowledge that at least one of the differences may be in terms of communication skills where the more expensive developer may be able to present, know how to use Powerpoint or just dresses better? All of these things are important but in reality don't help you develop a better application. So, are you paying for just brand alone? Well, this is part of the equation where a well-known firm can charge more than one that isn't well known, but this isn't the entire nut.

Are you paying for the massive amounts of training that these two firms provide their staff? Not really. I bet if you were to look deeper, you may find that the firm that charges $25 may actually provide equal if not more frequent training than the $200 an hour firm. It may be the form of computer-based training, but that it about all. Maybe, the delta in costs are more about just the ability to be onsite where face-to-face does reduce some forms of risk or at least risk that is not associated with competency.

So, the next time you attack one of these firms, you really need to reset your expectations when it comes to the quality of the delivery and ask yourself, what is it that you are really paying for...

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