What makes a technical consultant a good one?
If the title does not raise eyebrows, what will....?
There are many kinds and flavours of technical consultants. There are many that aspire to make a living as one and there are many that eventually can not stand the life of frequent traveling and uncertainty of income and family life. And rightfully so....
There are different types of consultants at very different levels of advisory services; for example management consultants that offer experience in managing MRO's or design organisations.
There are compliance consultants offering services based on their knowledge of regulations and quality systems and safety management systems.
IT consultants, offering services in technical data management and data migration.
Continuing Airworthiness and Initial Airworthiness consultants and certification specialists.
Asset management consultants, modelling lifecycle costs for lessors and owners.
Reality of life is that in the end, your customer needs to be confident to pay your bills and have the satisfaction of added value and fulfilled expectations of the consultant he or she hired.
In real life clients require an infinite number of blends of the above mentioned expertises. So a successful technical consultant must be all round or be able to tap expertise from within his group. A jack of all trades almost.
Knowing your customer is key! What are his or her objectives. How do they want to reach them. What are his or her potential stumbling blocks. What are internal organisational obstacles. What are the deliverables. It is imperative to have a common understanding these elements and find ways to achieve them. That does NOT mean to blindly follow orders. It means thinking out of the box and to offer options and be willing to do the dirty work if required. In Aviation the devil is in the detail so it is important to be willing to drill down to the nitty gritty and do humble work.
Scope creep is another element that often occurs; while babysitting an aircraft in maintenance, it maybe necessary to pay for fuel for the aircraft or load ballast at some point. Managing project cash flow for a customer may creep in, helping him or her to get internal management support. Flexibility is key.
In addition a technical consultant must be resourceful; making sure you get at an agreed location at an agreed time without hand holding and without fuss. To get set up at a location, have the required equipment at hand to do the job, be it 3D scanners, Borescope equipment, document scanners or just a high quality camera and computer.
Keeping a customer up to speed with project progress avoids misunderstanding; sharing data on line will solve this potential problem.
The ability to successfully interact between potential hostile parties requires a set of human skills that can make or break a project. It requires sensitivity for emotions, yet 30000 ft view on business. For example on a lease transition, the objective is to accept and deliver an aircraft on time, on terms set out by the signatures of the lease agreement. That is the deal that has to be carried out for which we're hired.
Depth of knowledge, experience and a good feel for human interaction, yet a business like approach with integrity are important.
Using all these capacities while away from home for longer periods of time, often socially isolated takes a good amount of mental resilience and character.
There is many more to say about this. Interested about your comments Can't wait to read them!