There are two general engagement types when you work for a consultancy: Project Engagement, and Staff Augmentation (sometimes crudely referred to as ‘Bodyshopping’).
Most generally prefer to work within a Project Engagement, as you’ll be on a project with your Project Manager and your own team.
On a Staff Augmentation (SA) engagement, you join a client’s existing project team – run by the client-side Project Manager, and you will be managed as one of the team.
It can feel quite daunting to be put on a SA engagement, mainly because there is a feeling of being slightly exposed.
– What if you get an awful Project Manager?
– What if you get asked to do something out of your knowledge, expertise or comfort zone?
– What if they make unreasonable demands?
– What if they provide poor feedback which you feel might be painted unfairly?
All the above could potentially happen within your company’s Project team anyway, but consultants tend to feel more exposed when out on client-side alone.
What do you do?
The same as you’d do anywhere.
Bring your A game.
Remember that you are the ambassador for your company.
Communicate effectively and manage expectations well.
Be even more stringent on documentation.
Write and email confirmation on decisions that are made, especially verbal ones.
Be more detailed logging your time sheets. Log it on outlook, or excel if necessary, breaking down daily tasks.
Once, one of the junior consultants I was line managing had poor feedback from the client who alleged that she was incompetent, and took too long to implement changes.
The poor girl told me that they had changed their minds frequently, and there were times they had provided conflicting instructions due to internal friction.
Sadly she had no documentation to back up her side of the story, which makes it a challenging task to defend.
So, in summary:
Be the professional that you are, and do the outstanding work you normally do.
Just remember to confirm everything in writing, and be more detailed with your time sheets.