Consultancy is a diverse and constantly evolving field that calls for special expertise. Technical experts are required to have a comprehensive skill set and ability to apply their technical know-how to business challenges. This blog post discusses how software developers, software architects and technical project managers can successfully utilise consulting skills in customer work.
A software developer is a technical expert who focuses on technical implementation and specifically writing code. However, when taking on the role of a consultant, a software developer needs to possess different kind of expertise as well. Consulting skills can help software developers create a more detailed picture of their customer’s needs. This means that the developer should be able to communicate with the client effectively and translate their business requirements to technical solutions that produce value for the customer. Software developers with good consulting skills know how to present technical options to their customer and explain the business impact of these solutions by, for example, describing the estimated workload of each approach and technical constraints for their implementation.
Software developers are technical experts that are often crucial for the success of the project. Consulting skills help them attain a deeper understanding of the customer’s needs and facilitate the making of technical decisions that support those needs. These are some of the areas where developers benefit from consulting skills:
- Understanding the customer’s needs: A key part of a consultant’s skillset is the ability to see things from the customer’s perspective and understand their actual needs. This helps to avoid unnecessary changes and additional expenses during a project.
- Clear communication: A software developer should be able to explain technical decisions to the customer in a comprehensible manner. Developers equipped with good consulting skills know how to translate technical terms into business language and demonstrate how the selected solutions can support the customer in reaching their goals.
- Ability to take the initiative: Customers value self-driven consultants who are able to manage their own daily work and play their part reliably in projects.
Goforean consultants should be proactive in suggesting solutions to clients when they notice that something could be done better or more efficiently. To be an expert in consulting is to have the ability to identify and solve problems as well as highlight matters that require attention.
The role of a software architect involves designing and managing the big picture together with a development team, and consulting skills are a highly important aspect of this role. Software architects must have in-depth knowledge of the customer’s business goals and requirements so that they can work with their team to design the ideal system for these needs. Software architects who have good consulting skills are able to communicate their plans clearly and convincingly to their team and customer.
Architects need to be able to justify their solutions and demonstrate their business benefits. Their role is to design a feasible system that functions seamlessly while supporting the customer’s business goals. As such, software architects need good consulting skills in the following areas:
- Understanding the client’s business: An in-depth understanding of the customer’s business is necessary in order to design a system that promotes business processes and goals. For instance, if a company seeks to improve their customer service, the architect must design a system that enables a fast and efficient customer service.
- Justifying technical decisions: Consulting skills help software architects justify technical decisions and explain their impact on business. For example, when recommending a cloud service to a customer, a software architect can demonstrate the cost savings and scalability benefits of this solution by comparing it to an alternative approach.
- Communicating with the team and client: Architects must ensure that their project team understands the plan and that the customer is kept adequately informed about the progress of the project. Architects at Gofore make sure that the communication with their team and customer is open and effective.
Technical Project Manager
In general, a technical project manager is responsible for the planning, scheduling and budgeting for a project. Technical project managers with good consulting skills are able to effectively manage the project and understand the expectations and needs of customers. A project manager should be both a good listener and communicator. They need to understand what the customer expects to achieve with the project and ensure that their team can make it happen. Project managers should also have the ability to take care of potential conflicts and problems in a professional and effective manner.
Technical project managers are expected to ensure that the project proceeds as planned and budgeted. The importance of consulting skills can especially be seen in the following areas:
- Managing client expectations: A project manager needs to be able to manage customer expectations realistically and ensure that project goals and scheduling are in line with the customer’s needs.
- Conflict resolution: During projects, there might be disagreements within the project team or between the team and customer. In these situations, technical project managers need to use their skills to build bridges and resolve conflicts.
- Customer service: It is common for a technical project manager to serve as the primary contact person for the customer. Project managers can utilise their consulting skills to provide high-quality customer service to customers and form strong bonds with them.
Interaction forms the foundation for excellent cooperation
Interaction is a fundamental part of a technical expert’s role in any company. Every Goforean interacts with customers and their own team, and the amount of interaction and the ways in which they interact with others varies from one role to another and within each role as well. Interaction is crucial for ensuring successful cooperation and as such, ability to interact is something that every technical expert should possess.
Consulting skills add to technical expertise and allow technical experts to do customer work more efficiently. Consulting skills help experts ensure that technical solutions meet the business needs of clients. Consultants have to keep up to date with technology and trends and much of their learning takes place close to customer work. This benefits both the team and the client.
Would you like to join our team? We are looking for experienced software specialists who seek to combine their technical expertise with consulting skills for successful customer work. Check our open positions and apply today!