Is Management Consulting A Scam?

Joel Spolsky writes that management consultants who hire on to big companies to improve IT are <a href="">scamming the companies they work for:</a></p>

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, Senior Writer, InformationWeek

November 13, 2006

1 Min Read

Joel Spolsky writes that management consultants who hire on to big companies to improve IT are scamming the companies they work for:

A management consultant at Bain wrote me a nice email, that included the following sentence:

"Our team is conducting a benchmarking effort to gather an outside-in view on development performance metrics and best practice approaches to issues of process and organization from companies involved in a variety of software development (and systems integration)."

I didn't understand a thing he wrote....

Joel goes on to explain how the scam works. Management consultants create metrics to measure programmer productivity, and IT staff and managers inside the company -- knowing their jobs are on the line -- improve the metrics without improving their actual productivity.

The whole fraud is only possible because performance metrics in knowledge organizations are completely trivial to game. The best part is that most management consultants, the stunningly good-looking, bright, earnest chipmunks with 4.0s in Russian Lit from Harvard who work for these companies, have absolutely no way of knowing this, so they can go through this whole exercise without even knowing that they're doing it! They get all the way through the 2-year associate program on their way to MBA school without even realizing that they haven't done a goddamn thing about productivity, all they've done is caused a fairly pointless transfer of wealth from ExxonMobilConoco to BainMcKinseyGartner's senior partners. And it's a lot of fun! First class flights to Houston and Oslo! Helping the world be more productive! Rock on, young stunningly-good-looking Management Consultant.

(Via Making Light)

About the Author(s)

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

Senior Writer, InformationWeek

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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