Removal from a Client Project

Removal from a Client
Removal from a Client Project

It happens every once in a while.  A consultant is working with their project team and sometime during the project, the account manager speaks with the consultant and informs them that they are being rolled off of the project.

Reasons for a removal from a client

It can happen to ineffective consultants and they don’t usually last long with the firm.  But sometimes, the person just doesn’t mesh with the team or the client.  I’ve seen consultants taken off of projects for a number of reasons.  Perhaps they:

  • Talk too much
  • Don’t talk enough
  • Dress funny
  • Handed in a task late
  • Didn’t appear focused in a meeting
  • Didn’t reply to an email on time
  • Looked at the CEO funny

It has amazed me throughout my career that top-level executives, who had the strength and perseverance to get to that level are as sensitive and insecure as they sometimes are.  I knew of one CEO who wanted a consultant removed from the project because he didn’t push all the chairs back neatly to the conference table after a meeting.

When removal from a client occurs due to client request, it’s not necessarily the end of your consulting career.  Firms understand that you can’t please everyone all of the time.  If it happens more than once, they may see it as a trend and deal with it as a performance issue.

Removal from a client as planned

Sometimes, it happens in the natural course of the project.  A large project can go from several months in duration to a couple of years.  Different skills are needed at different times in a project so people are swapped out of projects based on the matching of their skill set and the skills needed at the time.  The firm may decide that your work on the project is near enough to completion that someone else can pick it up.  They may need you for another client project or to work on a proposal.

Project economics may also play a role.  Some projects are sold as ‘Fixed-bid’, meaning the firm receives a set amount in fees and must deliver the project while trying to burn as few consultant hours as possible to maintain their target profit margin.  Fixed bid projects are often run on a tight budget.  Depending on your billing rate, they may want to get you off of the project as soon as possible to ease up the budget.

Very few people serve on a project from beginning to end.  Project managers are even switched out from time to time.  Rolling off of a project is a natural occurrence that can happen for any number of reasons – good or bad.

See my related post: 7 Things to Do When  a Project Ends

If you are taken off of a project due to a client issue, the firm may say something to you.  They may wait to see if it is a recurring issue or just an anomaly. It’s always best to try to find out the real reason you’ve been taken off of a project, but it’s not always for a bad reason or anything within your control.

Have you ever been removed from a client? What was the reason?

If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com

As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms. 

Related Posts
The Best Route to Success – Incremental Gains
I remember an old cartoon of a reporter asking a famous star, "How do you account for your overnight success?" To which the star responded, "Twenty years of hard work." In ...
READ MORE
The Impossible Goal of Multitasking
I have a “no electronics” rule at our dinner table with my kids.  We turn off the TV, we don’t answer the phone and, above all, no cell phones.  Any ...
READ MORE
The Difficult Client Types
I've worked in very few organizations that didn’t have a jerk or two walking around.  Over the years I’ve learned to deal with them. In the one situation where the jerk was ...
READ MORE
Consulting Downside: Separation Anxiety
When I began interviewing with companies during my senior year of college, it was important for me to find a company that had a good culture. I had an outgoing ...
READ MORE
How to Differentiate with Your Personal Brand
There is a lot of talk today about personal branding.  The tools available are plentiful.  Social media tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and the up-and-coming Quora allow you to ...
READ MORE
Consulting: Embracing the Change
We often hear that the only thing that stays constant is change.  But if that’s so, why are people so averse to change?  Just listen to the nervous gossip that ...
READ MORE
The Jimmy Buffett Approach to Career Management
For those old enough to remember Jimmy Buffett, but are unfamiliar with him, most would probably think he’s a washed up musician from the 70s who should probably be making ...
READ MORE
Integrated Lunch: Cohesive Team
When a project team starts up, there are the typical team building practices that take place.  Although some teams implement formal team-building exercises like walking together on a beam, that’s ...
READ MORE
Reluctant Clients: Gaining Buy In
"We're from corporate and we're here to help." It's the common joke for anyone who works for a living; for anyone who feels they know their job and doesn't need high ...
READ MORE
Management Flexibility: That’s Not How I’d Do It
There is an age-old debate about how the toilet paper should roll for most efficient dispensing.  One school of thought says the paper should roll up from the bottom while ...
READ MORE
The Best Route to Success – Incremental Gains
The Impossible Goal of Multitasking
The Difficult Client Types
Consulting Downside: Separation Anxiety
How to Differentiate with Your Personal Brand
Consulting: Embracing the Change
The Jimmy Buffett Approach to Career Management
Integrated Lunch: Cohesive Team
Reluctant Clients: Gaining Buy In
Management Flexibility: That’s Not How I’d Do It