How do you pick the right consulting partner for your project?
The first thing to do is to evaluate your own needs.
What is your budget, and how complex are your needs?
Would a small 1 man band do the job?
That would be cheap, and these small companies generally bend over backwards to keep you happy.
What if he got sick, or left half way through?
How about a boutique consultancy – medium sized?
They are more expensive, but there’s a bit more resiliency. If you get someone you don’t like, you can swap him/her out, although there’s no guarantee that the replacement’s any better.
The big boys are for larger projects, as they would have experience in that arena.
The day rates here are much higher, and so is the expectation for a quality delivery.
Let’s say you narrow it down to a couple of medium sized partners, and they’ve done a demo and provided a proposal.
Which one do you pick?
From my experience, if it isn’t a “Hell yes” it’s a “No”.
But what if they are all ‘Meh’?
Then dig deeper.
Speak to previous clients. Successful ones, and not-so-successful ones (if possible)
Speak to the delivery team, especially the Project Managers.
Regardless of the competency of the team, I would say that the Project Manager is the key driver for success.
Make sure you connect with them, and that they inspire confidence.
In the end, it’s all about the human connections you make, that determine if the relationship will be rocky, or fun, or full of “drama”.