Why Consultants are better at Documentation?Muhammad Zeeshan Ali, PMP, PMI-ACP
The concept of hiring a consultant is fast getting attention around the world and organizations are recognizing the very need for it. The engagement may range from simple document formatting to full scale Organizational Governance. I have discussed the importance of having a consultant in my other article “The Necessary Evil: Project Management Consultant”.
One area which I always feel is avoided by the managers or which can be termed as a weak area is the documentation part. Unfortunately, the most important component, i.e., Documentation, is not given the due time and effort. It is not that the Project Managers don’t do the documentation properly or are unable to realize the importance of documentation. I believe there are several other reasons which lead to this conclusion that the Manager doesn’t give the right amount of time and effort to the documentation effort.
The foremost reason, I feel, is that the internal Project Manager is limited to the internal documents while the Consultant has exposure to a much wider range of documents. This is the main reason that when a Consultant prepares a document, it covers some items or contains some elements which are generally missing in documents prepared by the internal project manager. The vision and experience of a Consultant not only enrich the content of the document but also they offer a much wider range of documentation. The documents prepared by Consultants adhere more to the industry standards and practices. They use standardized formats which cover all standard information.
The other most important factor that makes the difference between the internal project manager and the consultant is the amount of time served in the preparation and review of a document. The internal manager has limited time and his/her documents are reviewed by a single or no person while the Consultant has a team who takes appropriate time to prepare and review the document and all the team members are experts in their domain.
Another common issue is that the documentation part is most often cut down to accommodate other activities to maintain overall project timeline. This sacrifice is most often not accommodated in case of Consultant as it is the main source of feedback and interaction with the Consultant.
A quality document not only helps in better driving a project but also is helpful in situations when any arbitration is required and to provide transparency to the stakeholders.