By Foo Guan Sim, Manager, Solution Management
Ask any consultant: there is nothing constant about consulting.
Every project presents something entirely new. More often than not, it’s totally beyond our comfort zone.
If you find you are comfortable in the world of tech consulting, or like doing "routine work", you are probably doing it wrong. Or maybe your job title isn't exactly accurate.
Tech consultants wake up to a whole new set of challenges that customers bring to us every day.
Great tech consultants relish the challenge.
Equally avid about learning and sharing their knowledge, tech consultants dig deep for the right solution. They listen with empathy, document details, illustrate concepts and leave no stone unturned. That’s how we approach tech consulting at ServiceRocket.
What I’ve learned is that great tech consulting requires a possible mindset.
The consultants that I look up to in the Atlassian ecosystem have this. How, I wondered, do they so easily transform complex requirements into workable solutions? How are they able to speak so eloquently and confidently, despite the daily challenges thrown at them?
A possible mindset is essential to tech consulting. Here’s why.
Sow confidence, not doubt
It’s easy to make excuses about why something will not work. Customers immediately lose trust the moment we doubt our own capabilities. Does that mean we have to lie about our solution’s feasibility?
Certainly not. When in doubt, show what is possible. Explain best practices and ask probing questions. Confirm understanding by reiterating the customer's requirement in your own words. Provide assurance of a follow up and a reasonable deadline.
In other words, go all in.
Commit to your expertise, to communicating and transparency.
This is MY business
This concept was hammered into my psyche when I worked in procurement at IBM. In this one particular incident, we were required to deliver a quote as part of a tender by day’s end.
The clock was ticking. Unfortunately, procurement could not initiate an RFQ (request for quote). Adopting a follower mindset, I waited for the requestor to initiate things. Failure to do so would fall to the tender, not me.
Instead, my colleague took a “possible” approach.
She chased the requestor and repeatedly tried to reach him, to no avail. In the end she raised the request on his behalf so I could initiate the procurement process.
My colleague decided to treat the transaction as though it was her business. That approach was definitely unorthodox and not part of our standard process.
Own your business. It will compel you to act, even if you lack clear direction or ideas.
"It will be possible in the end, we just haven't found the solution yet."
Scientists regularly employ this way of thinking. It’s why science is at the forefront of progress. This approach compels us to do research, think outside the box and accomplish seemingly impossible tasks.
I’ve seen this mindset in consultants who are able to master a few programming languages in seemingly no time at all. This doesn’t require superhuman skills. I believe it demands no more than 20% of the consultant’s innate skills.
What about the other 80%? Pure “possible” mindset. It’s having the confidence to say, "I can learn and master all things as long as I put my mind into it."
Adopt this mindset to break through barriers and get started.
Proactivity and anticipation
How can we consultants be more proactive about the jobs to be done? Interview yourself. Be a BBC reporter and ask the hard questions.
For example, even if you are only in the Discovery phase of a JSM implementation, try to imagine that you need to actually implement and go-live with JSM tomorrow. What prevents you from doing so? This will compel you to ask some tough questions of yourself as well as the customer:
How would you proceed using the current information that you have of the customer’s existing system? How would you go about removing any blockers? How will you answer your questions? What documentation and design blueprint do you need to ensure consensus on the future state design?
What would your customer object to if you decided to close the project tomorrow? What goals/success metric has gone unanswered? What action will provide an answer? What other deliverables are you missing?
So many questions! Perhaps that’s why I love consulting so much.
I get to be a sleuth, a truth seeker and an innovator. I #DelightTheCustomer with a solution to their problem that they never thought possible before. The path to that solution is never the same. How cool is that?
Foo Guan Sim, or Foogie, is a proud Rocketeer, having spent over 11 years and counting moving through various roles within ServiceRocket, from Atlassian Support to Marketing and now Atlassian Consulting. The common denominator in all these roles is an emphasis on the customer. Foogie loves helping customers achieve their goals while building lasting relationships with them. When he’s not busy putting smiles on customers and Rocketeers, he enjoys the great outdoors—hiking, camping, cycling, running, climbing—and everything related to it.
Check out Foogie's amazing travels in his Rocketeer Close Up. And take a look at our tech consultant job postings. Bring your own possible mindset to ServiceRocket's tech consulting team. They'll have your back every day.
Let's break barriers.
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