Consulting, as a profession, is in my humble opinion an extremely honorable pursuit that can bring tremendous value to the purchasers of consulting services. But that’s only when applying a very narrow definition of the “consulting.”

What is that definition?

A true consultant is an independent professional that through the application of their unique knowledge, experience and (occasionally) intellectual property, transforms the outcome of their client’s situation. (Kudos to Alan Weiss for that insight…)

But unfortunately, the majority of “consultants” out there are simply supplying outsourced labor.

And perhaps that’s why Lucas Miller’s post at TNW bothers me a little. The title of his post kind of says it all: Why you’re more qualified to be a consultant than you think.

From the intro:

This post isn’t just to boost your mood, although that would be a good side effect. The real purpose here is to show that you can utilize your talents in such a way that they pay the bills. The name of the game here is “consulting.”

I think words like “freelancing” or “subcontracting” are much more accurate than “consulting” when it comes to describing the work that most self-professed consultants perform.

To be fair, Miller does make mention of a consultant he knows that is producing measurable ROI for their clients, despite being only 18 — a real outlier. Unfortunately, it gives the impression that anybody can leverage skills picked up in between homework assignments and school dances.

Nervous about launching your career as consultant?

Don’t be — all you need is some successful experience, some productive failures, a lot of sweat equity, and the willingness to scrap a plan on a minute’s notice. If this sounds like you, congrats — you’re already qualified to be a consultant.

What’s missing? If you want to be a true consultant, make sure that the efforts of your client work produce measurable results, and ideally, implement value-based fees as opposed to billing based on increments of time.

But ultimately, perhaps the real test for who is and who is not a consultant comes down to their relationship with their client. A real consultant is a peer of their client, engaged in a collaborative process.

Christopher Hill (no relation to yours truly) is a longtime construction law attorney and mediator practicing out of Richmond, Virginia. His blog, Construction Law Musings, has always been one of my must-read sources of news and insight pertaining to construction law ever since he started it in late 2008. Be sure to follow @constructionlaw on Twitter for the latest updates from a true thought leader in the art and science of resolving construction disputes. Without further ado, I am proud to present Mr. Hill’s guest post on a topic that I couldn’t agree with more — the business case for why the mediation process is so critical to the A/E/C industry.

First of all, thanks to Brian for his invitation to discuss a passion of mine, mediation, at his great AEC Forensics blog.  I read it regularly and so should you. (more…)

Bill Graham, legendary concert promoter and impresario said the above quote in regards to one of his favorite bands to work with: the Grateful Dead. Since today is the 22nd anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s passing, I thought it would be fun to tie in today’s post with something related to the Dead…

Matt Handal, SMPS rock star, head of marketing for a highly successful consulting firm in the A/E/C industry, author of the best book I know of on responding to RFPs, and just an all around neat guy, posted yet another intriguing post at his website, Help Everybody Every Day. The post: Architects and Engineers Suffer From Mass Superiority Delusion.

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Both inside the industry and externally, there is an almost urgent message heralding the massive disruption already taking place in the world of design and construction.

The latest entrant in the race to proclaim the end of the construction industry as we know it is none other than McKinsey & Company. Historically a management consulting firm that uses both qualitative and quantitative methods for evaluating business performance, the firm has numerous clients in both the public and private sector after more than 90 years of existence. (more…)

Agile (with a capital “A”) project management is a set of practices for moving complex projects along as efficiently as possible, with the primary goal of meeting customer needs through continuous innovation.

It is also a practice I’ve used on multiple occasions in a variety of contexts, and I’ll be honest — there is a reason the folks in software development swear by Agile for actually getting things done: It works. (more…)

According to Dylan Martin at BostInno, a new startup called Dispatch has successfully raised a $12-million round of venture capital from an enviable list of investors that includes ServiceMaster, Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures, Salesforce and Assurant.

What does Dispatch do?

The easiest way to describe Dispatch is this: the Boston startup has built a software platform that lets people book home services professionals for things like pest control and appliance repair, with the ease of use found in apps like Uber.

[…]

Dispatch’s software helps home service providers offer features that people have come to expect with the proliferation of apps like Uber, OpenTable and Airbnb, such as the ability to schedule appointments, communicate with providers directly, receive job updates and make payments. The startup said its software now serves more than 50,000 homes a day.

Why does this matter? Dispatch’s CEO and founder Avi Goldberg says that, “by creating that operating system and infrastructure, we’re giving the toolkit to enterprises so they can compete for homeowners that want a modern customer experience.”

Construction Dive’s Hallie Busta reports on the recent acquisition of construction software startup FieldLens by commercial real estate startup WeWork.

Never heard of either? You may not be alone, if you have been working in the built environment for some time. Chances are, however, that you’ll be hearing a lot more about WeWork and their highly profitable, avant garde approach to co-working commercial office spaces. One just opened down the street from me, for example. (more…)

Mark Buckshon’s wonderfully rich blog, Construction Marketing Ideas, is in my humble opinion, perhaps the best resource there is for growing businesses in the architecture, engineering and construction industry. Every day, without fail, a new post is published that provides actionable advice, provokes thought, or forces one to question their own previously held assumptions.

And while I am of the opinion that Mark’s blog is one of the best construction-related blogs there is, he has removed himself from consideration for such an honor by instead hosting an annual Best Construction Blog competition. So who won this year’s competition? Oldcastle Building Solutions.

To congratulate the winner, Buckshon conducted a live interview via Google Hangouts to learn more about the not-so-secret tactics and strategies implemented by the Oldcastle marketing team:

Heather Pacinelli, director, digital marketing at Oldcastle Building Solutions, has made herself available for a video interview to discuss the blog’s success behind winning the 2017 Best Construction Blog competition. […]

The blog serves a variety of purposes, including uniting Oldcastle’s diversity of building products and services — educating clients who may not know about everything the business offers.

Here’s the video of their conversation:

Wowzers! That’s my general response to a controversy that has been brewing over the last several weeks among marketers responsible for promoting architecture, engineering and construction professional services.

It all started when Professional Services Management Journal (PSMJ) published a list-based article called, “8 Reasons You Shouldn’t Do A/E Marketing,” which started out as follows: (more…)