Build a consulting process in five steps

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IT consultants should build a quality service model that consists of effective processes. Here’s how to use the Six Sigma DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify) process for this purpose.

Wouldn’t it be nice if consulting work magically continued to flow our way, and the only thing we needed to focus on was solving the next problem for the next client? Unfortunately, consulting life doesn’t work that way. If you’ve been doing this for any amount of time, you know that consulting and being in business as a consultant are two different things.

I’ll be honest; when I first started out, I had no Web site, no business cards, and no real marketing strategy other than to keep my clients happy. I was fortunate in the beginning that I was able to coast on reputation and referrals, but at some point I needed to get serious about running a consulting business.

Regardless of your tenure in consulting, if you don’t take the business aspect of your consulting seriously, you’re putting yourself at great risk of finding yourself cemented to the bench with no idea about how to unglue yourself.

To avoid this unfortunate predicament, I exhort you to view your business as a process, and employ the disciplined techniques found in quality methodologies like Six Sigma to build and improve your practice. There are two basic applications to Six Sigma, each with its own acronym to guide practitioners through implementation. DMAIC is for process improvement; we’ll get to this in the next article when we discuss improving your consulting practice. However, you can’t improve what you don’t have, so DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify) was created to actually build a product, service, or process with quality in mind. We’ll follow the DMADV sequence when systematically building our consulting process