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This is the opportunity to explore the applicability of the course learning to your own work-life. By this time, most MSITM students are assumed to have acquired a good deal of important knowledge about information technology and its management. Interestingly, you have likely also functioned (formally or informally) in the role of ‘internal organizational IT consultant’ (or can at least imagine what this might be like). Those of you who have been (or are) IT consultants or contractors (or simply just had to offer IT or other advice) certainly know that, in addition to technical knowledge and skill, you also have to acquire a set of successful ‘consulting techniques’, to include a set of suitable interaction/communication/political behaviors. You also have to know something about the organization and your customers, how to get at the data/issues, then get your message across, getting people to trust and respect you and a host of other things necessary to get the consulting role and keep it, or to get and keep an important IT project moving. This is only a little less true for the internal IT specialist or manager who must respond in many ways as a consultant to internal customers.
The SLP question thus is:
“What do I really know about my personal ‘consulting’ activities?”
Your task for this SLP is to: (1) do a little personal literature mining (properly cited) on the particulars and importance of the role of the IT consultant and the IT unit as a consultant to the organization. You are encouraged to look beyond personal behaviors and check out ‘organization development’ (OD) or general consulting literature to understand organizational techniques (i.e., ‘scanning’) and issues (such as political realities). In particular, you might wish to find one of the several ‘step’ models which suggest phased consulting activities; (2) note some truly important characteristics; and then (3) using this information as a guide, suggest your current most important consulting strengths as well as opportunities you see for improvement, based on both personal knowledge and your assignment literature review. Relate these strengths to the organizational unit for your project and discuss how the strength could benefit the IT outreach from that unit. Try to do this in three to four pages or so. (There is no penalty for a longer paper.) Note that you may wish to seek the opinions of co-workers in this largely self-diagnostic project. They may have some interesting insight for you. Remember, this is not a paper where you make generalized comments about what consultants do. It is about your insight and typical activities. Do not discuss personality ‘traits’ or ‘style labels’ you may have learned. You must discuss actual activities you now use when dealing with others and providing expert IT advice. For example, how well do you listen versus talk, or how well do you scan the organizational environment and try to find out about the politics of a given situation before you wade in with your advice or start a project? As noted above, you will wish to research the Web and check out traditional models of consulting behavior and typical behaviors in each ‘stage.’ For example, what are effective behaviors when one first enters any kind of consulting relationship? Again, stay out of the personality and trait literature; this is about observable activity. You may want to chat with people whom you have provided advice to, to see what they have observed. Be forewarned that generalized papers with no personal information, or including a ‘personality assessment’ will be graded as unresponsive to this assignment. Do not provide a technical outline or project details such as: “conduct project/needs analysis.” This is assumed.
SLP Assignment Expectations
These SLP papers require that you integrate, discuss, contiguously cite, and later fully reference at least three academically sound sources. Use enough concurrent discussion so that the purpose of each citation is apparent to the reader.