Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Nature of all consultant work

Via TPM, this is a post by Clay Shirky about the Helalthcare.gov launch but this passage could apply to any company who brings in an expert consultant to help with just about any project or transition.  
The thing that made this meeting unusual was that one of their programmers had been invited to attend, so management could explain their web strategy to him. After the executives thanked me for explaining what I’d learned from log files given me by their own employees just days before, the programmer leaned forward and said “You know, we have all that information downstairs, but nobody’s ever asked us for it.”

I remember thinking “Oh, finally!” I figured the executives would be relieved this information was in-house, delighted that their own people were on it, maybe even mad at me for charging an exorbitant markup on local knowledge. Then I saw the look on their faces as they considered the programmer’s offer. The look wasn’t delight, or even relief, but contempt. The situation suddenly came clear: I was getting paid to save management from the distasteful act of listening to their own employees.
9 times out of 10 it's purely an act of contempt toward the staff. But, then, contempt for staff is a hallmark of the modern executive. And there's money to be made in facilitating this.

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