Make sure consultants have a basic orientation to your organization, especially around acceptable use policies, communication, security.


They don’t know everything — trust, but verify.


Don’t let them burn billable hours with your vendor or other consultants without your participation or approval.


The #1 job of consultants is to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) that you can survive without them.


Don’t be fooled by the sample resumes. In most cases, it is unlikely those will be the resources on your project. Bait and switch is common.


Don’t forget to factor in travel expenses — the more distance, the more $$$. Make sure they find your travel guidelines acceptable.


Call lots of references. Not the ones they gave you, but others on their “we’ve worked for every health system in country “ logo slide. Find out who is on their A team and get them.


Check their quoted number of employees (many firms are 70 percent temporary people). Go to LinkedIn and see how many people actually list them as an employer. Find out their turnover rate (both senior management and staff consultants) — again, LinkedIn is useful for this.


Unless they’re sharing financial and other risks with you, they’re not your “partner.” Let them do something small successfully, then sign them up for something larger. Interview their consultants and ask hard technical questions.


Always remember that they know more about you than you know about them. Consulting firms are notorious at being opaque. Beyond them really screwing something up and you spreading the word, they have very little accountability.


That they’d then try to get me fired so they could put their replacement in as interim leadership and bill for it.


How they vet their consultants.


I wish we’d had more perspective on the specific skill sets those working with us would have to ensure they fit the roles as we’d defined them.