“Consultancy is a supply – demand equation. The reason I have so much great advice to give is because I produce so much but nobody ever wants to take it.”
I am an OSS consultant but I have to face facts – the customers will always know their business better than me. The customer knows the current situation, their desired future situation and understands better than anyone what their gaps are.
So what value could an outsider possibly bring to your OSS environment?
The really good ones bring lots of questions and can give you valuable connections (people, process, technology, design, etc) that can only come from an outsider’s perspective, one who has seen things done differently with many past projects / customers.
Consider it from the perspective of “Structural Holes and Sociograms“. The great OSS consultants are able to fill in some of the structural holes to make connections of knowledge that may not have otherwise been formed.
No matter how visionary, imaginary, creative, insightful or otherwise great your consultant is, their output still needs to be more you than them. The emphasis is on you, because to get a great consultative outcome it needs significant input from you too.