If a consultant stays too long then they become less useful. The longer they stay in the one place the less they will be able to teach the permanent employees. Then the permanent employees will start to resent the fact that the consultants get more money and do the same work. Also good consultants tend to like moving around because they know that their skills won't develop if they stay in one place for too long. This means that if you have consultants around for too long then you just accumulate the less capable consultants who don't offer much to the project and damage morale by their presence. If a consultant wants to stay working for several years in the same project then it would make sense to offer them a permanent position, but to pay someone by the hour for several years doesn't make sense to me.

If a project is having problems then bringing in a consultant will generally improve the morale. Computer programming is known for being an area of work that has a wide range of levels of efficiency. If staff are motivated then their productivity can be 10 times greater than if they aren't. When the new consultant arrives they will generally be deluged with questions and get all difficult problems (especially the ones considered insolvable) assigned to them. This is always a fun time for a good consultant.
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Copyright © 1999 Russell Coker, may be distributed freely.