Separation Anxiety: What To Do When Your Consultants Leave

  • by Davin Wilfrid, Former Contributing Editor, SAP Experts
  • November 3, 2009
Whether they are delivering technical work or more, consultants are a presence on many project teams. Eventually, however, they will move on to the next job, leaving you to retrace their steps when something goes awry. In this project management article, Symmetry COO Frank Powell shares insider secrets that will prepare you to maintain your project after the consultants have left.

Consultants are often a key part of SAP projects, offering expertise and experience to ensure a successful implementation, upgrade, or other initiative. Consultants are temporary, however, and project managers that fail to prepare for the end of a consulting arrangement put the ongoing success of the project at risk.

“What happens is that all that knowledge that helped them through the project or go-live walks out the door, and they didn’t get any of it documented or transferred to the internal team or internal staff,” says Frank Powell, chief operating officer at Symmetry Corporation. “They (project team members) don’t know what the consultants did, how they did it, or how to fix something that goes wrong.”

Failure to plan for the end of a consulting engagement can cost time and money, as project team members scramble to figure out how to solve issues on their own, or you need to bring the consultants back temporarily. To avoid these circumstances, Powell offers seven tips every project manager should follow:

1. Start at the beginning

    Planning for the end of a consulting arrangement should begin at the very earliest stages of your project planning, says Powell. He recommends stipulating that knowledge transfer be a cornerstone of your initial bid requests and, more importantly, that you write provisions ensuring knowledge transfer and detailed documentation into your consulting contracts.

    Davin Wilfrid

    Davin Wilfrid was a writer and editor for SAPinsider and SAP Experts. He contributed case studies and research projects aimed at helping the SAP ecosystem get the most out of their existing technology investments.

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