The first premise is ensuring the need is understood, the goal and skill is formulated. Assessing if a deliverable needs an army of singular specialists, or a small collective of seasoned generalists. Cutting through the barrage of technical acronyms and methodologies and defining what needs to be done with clear understanding allows the picture to formulate.
For example, two years ago most companies wanted projects delivered on site, resources on seats in the respective office for five days a week. This year the companies that are doing well, have adapted, delivered the same output with an enforced remote working. The question is, was the enforced placement of resources relative? and due to the decision of onsite working, the demand was not relevant, and the cost of travel and expenses was surplus to the need.
The same goes for defining processes or project deliverables, singular string approaches mean that work that is run in parallels become overburden and fail to meet needs, this extends as integration streams are needed, as well as armies of project managers and support personnel. But what if the demand factor is to utilizes people who have had investment to wear multiple hats, such as e.g. SAP project executed with a finance evangelist rather than the typical 3 billable resource, an AP, AR and GL configurator?
In many cases, with smaller consultancies, the relative demand value is a lot higher; their strength lies in understanding the estate and not just a process. Their value and ability to meet that relative demand enables companies, rather than hinders projects. The ethos of these organizations is very different to that of the big consultancy, as necessity requires continual exploration into the fringes of their expertise.
Over many years big consultancy workshops have been split into singular process, graduates have been trained to be single string consultants, boxed in jobs have meant that expertise is pinpoint focused, knowing transaction codes and step through methodologies, yet when they move out of the comfort zone into say a contracting role, they start to understand how they should expand their knowledge, their relative value rises. There are some that do not raise that value and prefer to stick to what they know, and these use their pedigree and training to get into large corporations. They then systematically run projects in the same process as the large consultancies.
“No one gets fired for hiring the big four” is true, but how many can say that they have successfully navigated a delivery with a lean large consultancy team? The large consultancies will place hundreds of consultants on to protect and deliver the project. But if the project was examined for relative demand it would in many cases come out negative. Overpopulating a project adds to success, replacing failing consultants is par for the course.