Thursday, July 4, 2013

When to Hire a “Hit Man” (Contractor)

When to Hire a “Hit Man” (Contractor)

A hit man (or contractor) is simply a person that is a subject matter expert who is paid to perform a specific task for a specific sum of money.  In this case, I mean for you to consider when it is appropriate to hire a contract specialist for your next project.
As you approach starting a new project, take stock in the skills, backgrounds and timely availability of the in-house resources already accessible to you. Then, determine the skills and availability that you need to complete your project on schedule.  If there are gaps between those two reviews, consider bringing in contractors.  It’s important that the assessments of the skills, backgrounds and availability are performed objectively.  An over confident or over ambitious program manager may not see these clearly (or truthfully).

A professional consultant brings to a project:
  • Accountability for results, schedule and costs to complete key project tasks.  These tasks and goals can be identified and added to the contract, which will translate into significant economies as compared to in-house efforts.
  • A proven methodology applied to the appropriate tasks.
  • Creativity drawn from a wide base of prior experiences.
  • No cost of training or “experimenting” on how to complete the assignment.  The contractor will focus on achieving results. Training of in-house staff can be scheduled into the project.

Once you determine that you will hire a contractor, you have many options for finding the right resources.  If your project involves purchasing a product, consider the vendor.  While this may appear to be the most costly upfront option (e.g. highest hourly rate), the vendor will provide well-trained resources that performed the needed tasks before.  Hence, the vendor-provided resource may get the project completed sooner, actually not costing more than a non-vendor resource.  Also, consider independent contractors with demonstrated experiences in the targeted area of expertise you need.

Hiring a consultant can be extremely advantageous by helping you plan, manage, and implement your key project goals.  The apparent cost may actually be less than the real cost when you consider the benefits gained from hiring a “hit man”.

David Schuchman


  1. David:

    First, welcome to the blogging world. I welcome your input and article. Second, on the topic of hiring a third-party consultant, a hit-man using your term, I strongly agree. Here is my question; how do you leverage that experience when the organization does not have the budget to hire a consultant? What would be the best practices?
    I find that usually the organization has the talent that can do the job, but that talent has multiple projects or tasks and does not have the bandwidth.
    I look forward to your comments and future blogs.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Benny.

      You need to identify the benefits and cost of hiring a consultant, and the risks and cost of not hiring a consultant. Then, present a value proposition to management. That is, demonstrate how the costs of the benefits outweigh the costs of the risks. When you demonstrate the value of hiring a consultant, you justify the cost. Then, organization management should consider the off-budget hiring expense.


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