Project Consultant Job Description
Project consultant is a general position that encompasses a large scope of work across various industries. Project consultants offer their expertise on a project to their employer or clients to help them achieve their business goals. These projects can be operational, strategic, or technical in nature. Project consultants are experts in their chosen field, as people look for consultants who have proven success in their area of consultation. Since this position is so broad, project consultants can find employment in virtually any industry. Fortune 500 companies may have a staff of in-house project consultants, but most work with a consulting firm or on their own as a consultant. As this is a project-based position, the number of hours one works in a week is dependent on the project load.
Project Consultants are mid-level, white collar workers. Junior project consultants may answer to lead or senior project consultants if they work for a firm or company, but they are their own boss if they work as a freelancer. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for business operations specialists, which includes project consultants, is set to rise 9 percent through 2026.
Project Consultant Duties and Responsibilities
Since the role of project consultant is broad, it involves many duties and responsibilities, many of which vary depending on the industry of employment. We analyzed project consultant job descriptions to come up with this list of the most relevant core duties of project consultants:
Evaluate Project Parameters
All project consultants, regardless of industry, evaluate the project parameters. This involves interviewing clients and actively listening to their answers. The better they perform this duty, the easier the following duties are to complete.
Analyze Project Strengths and Areas Needing Improvement
Project consultants use their understanding of the client’s overall goals to analyze their current progress for strengths and areas needing improvement. The level of progress varies for each client. Sometimes their job involves making small tweaks to an existing plan, and other times, it involves creating a whole new plan from scratch. A variation of the SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) is used by many project consultants.
Devise a Project Plan Based on Client Needs
Once project consultants understand the client goals and the resources available, they create a project plan outlining how resources will be used to achieve the project parameters.
Delegate Project Tasks to Employees
Project consultants who work in-house are directly responsible for delegating project tasks to each employee to get the project done as efficiently as possible. Project consultants who work on their own or for a consulting firm coach decision makers through this process.
Test and Tweak Project Solutions to Perfection
Project consultants monitor the completion of each stage of the project, making tweaks to the plan based on feedback. They are also responsible for testing the effectiveness of the project solutions if applicable.
Present Plans and Results to Project Stakeholders
Finally, project consultants spend a fair amount of time presenting both their plans and final results to project stakeholders. This requires good communication and negotiation skills.
Project Consultant Skills
Project consultants must be experts in the principles of project management as they define the scope and tasks of each project. Performing basic cost calculations and analysis is another technical skill project consultants call upon often. Those with an ability to see the big picture and how the pieces of the puzzle fit together do well in this position. In addition, the following skills are required to succeed as a project consultant:
- Interviewing clients to determine their specific project needs
- Defining project parameters based on client needs
- Analyzing current project strengths and weaknesses using SWOT analysis
- Creating specific project plans based on the principles of project management
- Delegating tasks to employees using project management software such as Asana or Trello
Project Consultant Tools of the Trade
- Project management software – used to plan projects and delegate tasks
- SWOT analysis – project consultants use this “tool” to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for each project
Project Consultant Education and Training
Project consultants need a bachelor’s degree in business administration, project management, or a related field. Coursework covers the principles of business, economics, project management, and organizational communication.
Project Consultant Salary
According to Glassdoor, the national median salary for project consultants is $71,202. Those at the high end of the scale make $97,000, and those at the low end of the scale make $47,000.
Project Consultant Resources
If a career as a project consultant sounds like a good fit for you, check out the following list of resources:
Project Management Institute – The Project Management Institute has 450,000 members and more than 280 chapters worldwide. Its website contains resources for networking and professional development. It also has a podcast featuring industry leaders.
International Project Management Association – This worldwide organization offers several resources to its members. It has a regularly updated blog and offers several advanced classes.
ProjectManagement.Com – Sponsored by the Project Management Institute, this is the go-to blog for the project management industry. It is regularly updated with articles written by industry experts.
Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling – This is one of the most popular textbooks on project management. While it is a dense read, it contains all the concepts a project consultant needs to succeed, as well as exercises to reinforce these concepts.
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