Never Again

I Should Have Gone All Ninja on Them

One consultant learns the "strike without warning" approach is sometimes best.

I was brought in as a consultant for a small office that had about 50 host systems. The owner of the company was extremely security-conscious, but had hired an IT staff to set up the original network as a workgroup. The company -- started with a staff of three -- had also grown to 50 full-time employees, in addition to many part-timers and other consultants.

The main issue with the IT staff was that they didn't have the knowledge or training to set up and maintain even a single domain controller, never mind the Exchange server that was so sorely needed because many of the staff worked offsite at various locations.

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The problems began the moment I walked in the door. I met more than the usual resistance from the onsite tech. I gave her the courtesy of including her in the process and she returned the favor by running around bad-mouthing the thought of updating and making the change from an overgrown workgroup to a nice, sleek domain.

After a month of vicious fighting, the onsite tech left the company to go to another local shop where she worked replacing modems and video cards. I ended up losing an employee to the client because the client now needed someone full time to run the new domain I set up.

I learned that thinking IT will appreciate your "helping" them and updating their system to a simpler one is naive and foolish. My new mantra as a consultant is to sneak in like a ninja and strike without warning. That way no one has the chance to sabotage your plans.

About the Author

Frank Callanan operates a private consulting business.

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Reader Comments:

Mon, Jun 29, 2009

What better way to alienate the few IT departments that might be receptive to your assistance than to cut their knees out from under them.

Thu, Sep 4, 2008 Russell NY

Being a consultant myself I'm often reminded of the battle that many clients unknowingly give us - their employees often declare consultants as the ones who come in to "CONfuse and inSULT".

Wed, Sep 3, 2008 Roger Zan Hartsdale, NY

I think we've all been through such nonsense at one point or another in our IT careers. Sometimes, I wonder why consultants are brought in at all if all the client does is to create an obstacle for us in performing our contractual obligations. It sounded like the so called "tech" had job insecurities and was more comfortable in performing her entry level PC tech nonsense instead of learning how to manage a domain and elevating her skill level. As "unprofessional" as it may sound, I agree with the author that sometimes it's just best to go in and do your thing without involving a lot of the lower level IT staff who feel threated by the presence of a consultant with advanced skills. Yes, the consultant should hold training sessions to educate the IT staff in the new technology, but those that fear change and resist to the implementation of new technology should be excluded from being involved in the process because such people will inherently jeopardize the project and everyone elses work morale.

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