Skip to main content

Career of a consultant in 3 blog posts

Join, June '05

It's not all roses, Dec '05

Leave, March '06

This is the consultancy career of Windows Mobile MVP, Daniel Moth. I've never met the guy but have followed his blog from way back when I was developing WM applications. I was with the London based consultancy Conchango for 6 years but I think being a consultant requires a particular set of attributes and personal circumstances that don't fit well with other "life" qualities. I still work long hours but I have a good journey, good office and some assurance of what and where I will be - the "diversity" of consultancy is a double edged sword and make no mistake about it.

To sum it up I would say "it's a young mans/womans game". Don't get me wrong, I'm not old (well 32 so debatable) and I'm sure Daniel isn't over the hill either - its just that being young free and single with a penchant for hotels and travel is an advantage. The problem that consultancies face is that all the really skilled people, with real world experience, good communication skills and a track record in providing solutions are generally older and their "life pattern" doesn't fit well with how a consultant operates. A generalisation maybe but I only say this from the time I spent as a consultant and the observations I made and analysed when I made my decision to leave consultancy.

I guess Daniel ran into this a lot sooner than I did, I wonder what you are doing now Dan - from your tone I would imagine you are not in consultancy any longer? Hope things have improved with your decision to move on.


The Moth said…
Hi James

Thanks for your post… I wanted to highlight 3 things if I may:

1. The reason that I personally resigned had nothing to do with the direct requirements of travelling (in fact, my older post that you reference is not valid any longer since I started renting in London and that was fine). The fact that I was renting out of my own pocket didn’t help, but that project was over before I resigned and my next one would have been somewhere where all hotel/travel expenses would be covered. So I’ll reiterate, travelling had nothing to do with my decision, but you are right to bring it up because I am sure it affects many other people.

2. You are correct; I am not going back to consultancy. I do not believe in the consultancy model no matter what angle you look at it from (the consultant or the client receiving the services of the consultant). I may devote a post on the subject at some point. I do believe in product development (and R&D departments etc) but I cannot find a place where that pays as well so I am not going back to that for the moment.

3. To answer your question, yes everything is improving with my decision to move on :-). I am still in my notice period so I don’t wish to say anything else at this stage…

James Simmonds said…
Thanks for the comment Daniel.

It was a bit impolite of me to use your history to illustrate a point that consultancy is a tough game on those involved but it does highlight how quickly people either put up with it or reject it and move on.

I absolutely agree there is a flaw in the consultancy model and my particular "beef" was the career side - I could equally be spell checking HTML pages as architecting an enterprise solution depending upon who was paying the biggest £££ and how the "pipeline" looked.

For someone like yourself with a particular interest in mobile development I wasn't getting that particular itch scratched and that’s just another thing that drove me away from consultancy - most jobs have something that sucks about them, however I think that consultancy has LOTS of things that suck about it, travel usually being one but not the sole one; apologies for incorrectly singling this one out – its usually a combination of things I know.

There are some good things though and each company has ways of trying to alleviate these issues...Conchango has some great ideas and practices and I'm sure Avanade does too; many of them were highlighted when I went for an interview with them - unfortunately it would have been out of the frying pan into the fire as they could not differentiate themselves from Conchango enough to warrant a move.

I was lucky and did find a product company that ticked all the boxes (OMG, buzzword bingo time!...shoot me if I write "paradigm shift"..its tough getting consultancy out of your system!) but I think your experience is not atypical of many people joining consultancies.

I look forward to seeing some new and interesting posts from you.



Popular posts from this blog

Walk-Thru: Using Wolfpack to automatically deploy and smoke test your system

First, some history... The advent of NuGet has revolutionised many many aspects of the .Net ecosystem; MyGet, Chocolatey & OctopusDeploy to name a few solutions building upon its success bring even more features to the table.

I also spotted that NuGet could solve a problem I was having with my OSS System Monitoring software Wolfpack; essentially this is a core application framework that uses plugins for extension (Wolfpack Contrib) but how to unify, standardise and streamline how these plugins are made available? NuGet to the rescue again - I wrapped the NuGet infrastructure (I deem NuGet to be so ubiquitous and stable that is has transcended into the software "infrastrucuture" hall of fame) with a new OSS project called Sidewinder. Sidewinder allows me to wrap all my little extension and plugins in NuGet packages and deploy them directly from the Wolfpack application - it even allows me to issue a new version of Wolfpack and have Wolfpack update itself, sweet huh?


Geckoboard Countdown Widget v2

v2 is here, now with added colours! This time using the RAG Numbers widget to display your date countdown - as you get nearer the date the number will change from green to amber then red.

The new url is:!
Note 1: notice the new /rag/ path and the msg querystring param.
Note 2: the original v1 url still works

To use this on your Geckoboard add a new "Custom Widget/RAG Numbers" widget. By default the number will turn amber at 10 or less days to go and red at 3 or less days to go however you can change these with the querystring (see below).

Required querystring params
date: "yyyy-mm-dd" format, this is the target date to countdown totz: timezone offset in hours from GMT that you are in. Can be negative if you are behind GMT
Optional querystring params
msg: the label that appears next to the number of days (remember to encode spaces as +). The default is "Days Remaining" if you…

Resharper add-in idea - highlight IDisposable vars

[Update 18th July 2013]
@RobGibbens and Greg Hurlman picked up on this - Rob pointed out that there is an FxCop rule that can do this and Greg suggested a Visual Studio extension. I've had a quick look at the Visual Studio options and it looks like an "Editor Extension" is a good fit....hmmm, Project New, click...doh...dammit I really don't have time for this but it looks a fun little diversion! I'll update here if I get anything working.

[Original Post]
Had an interesting idea for a Visual Studio Resharper add-in the other day but don't have the time to implement it so thought I would put it out might already exist (and hopefully someone can point me in the right direction) or someone will build it (Darren Voisey where are you?!).

The idea is very simple really - when you have a variable for an object that implements IDisposable it gets highlighted or a tell-tale is displayed to let you know it should be disposed or should be wrapped in a using sta…