ver·sa·tile [ vúrssət’l ]
1. with many uses: able or meant to be used in many different ways
2. moving easily between tasks: able to move easily from one subject, task, or skill to another
Versatility in consulting does not connote breadth of skills versus depth of skills. It talks about the ability to leverage the skills you have in many different ways.
For example lets look at actor Michael Crawford. Watch this video as he plays Frank Spencer in the BritCom “Some Mothers do ‘ave ‘em”
Some Mothers do ‘ave ’em video clip
“Each episode saw the well-meaning and optimistic, but naïve, clueless, accident-prone tank top and beret-wearing character, Frank Spencer (Michael Crawford), and his very tolerant but often frustrated wife, Betty (Michele Dotrice), getting into situations that usually spiraled ridiculously out of control, frequently resulting in someone else’s nervous breakdown or some unlikely destructive catastrophe. … Episodes usually included stunt work performed by Crawford himself…“
Now let’s take another look at Michael Crawford. Perhaps best known as… The Phantom.. from the original Andrew Lloyd Webber production of the Phantom of the Opera…
Phantom Gala Video
Or for his Vegas Show…
Versatility. It is apparent from the above that Michael Crawford can apply his skills in many different areas illustrating versatility.
Now let’s apply the same connotation to consulting. What are your skills? Let’s borrow Microsoft’s definition of a consultant from a standard “consultant” job posting.
- architect solutions by mapping common customer business problems to reusable services focused on operational effectiveness and business value.
- manage the complete lifecycle of large and complex projects.
- helps customer account teams identify, pursue, and close strategic business development opportunities while continually driving add-on business within existing projects.
- help translate business requirements into technology requirements for inclusion in contracts and/or statements of work (SOW), and assist in contract negotiations
- will work with Microsoft’s partners and Services colleagues
- leveraging available IP and following defined delivery methodologies and service offerings.
- capture of requirements.
- design and development of an integrated solution using the latest Microsoft products and technologies
- understanding the relevant application development, infrastructure and operations implications of the designed/developed solution
- developing partners as part of the overall Microsoft services delivery model.
- act as subject matter expert,
- assisting service line management in the definition and development of service and/or solution offerings and intellectual property.
- strong skills in focused Solution Delivery practices and IT Consulting.
- solution design,
- project envisioning,
- project planning,
- development and deployment.
- vertical business process knowledge
- project leadership skills
- understanding of markets, customers and related technology;
- technical leadership
- effectiveness in consulting and client management.
- deep understanding of customer IT environment,
- skills architecting and deploying technology in area(s) of specialization to solve business problems.
- industry leading depth knowledge of subject area,
- demonstrated analysis and communication skills connecting technology and business problems.
Pre-Sales consultant – if you apply skills 1,3, 7,11,15 and 16, you can respond to “requests for proposals” (RFP), where you are bidding on services to be provided.
Development consultants (Hands on) – if you apply skills 6,8,9,13,17 you can provide “build/test/deploy” services to your client.
Team Lead – if you apply skills 2,5, 13, 16, 19, 21, 22 and 26 you may lead a customer team through a project.
Architect – if you apply 1,4,6,8, 9,15,16, 18, 20, 24 and 26 you can provide architecture guidance to the project
Subject Matter Expert – if you apply skills 11, 22, 23 and 25 , you can provide specific advisory services to the client.
Evangelist – if you apply skills 1,3,5,8,10, 14,15, 18, 23,24, 25 and 26 you can be on the leading edge of moving customers to new technologies in your area.
Versatility does not mean that you need to program in ASP .NET and Java. It means that as an ASP .NET consultant that you leverage your range of skills in your area of expertise in a versatile manner. Your highest value is where your expertise is deepest and when you can apply those skills in multiple roles.