So this article appears to confirm what many of those who have employed management consultancies have feared – that the expertise you are paying top dollar for is actually otherwise engaged on all myriad of firm tasks, just not your project. In other words, there is a distinctly inverse relationship between years of experience and percentage of time focused on client work.

One could argue that this relationship is actually a blessing in disguise. Given the pace of technological change, it is often the case that more junior consultants are better equipped to serve clients than their more experienced counterparts. But then this leads to the question of what the need is for expensive and hierarchical one-stop solution shops in the first place…

Federal management consultants—and the hierarchies they serve — are obsessed with, well, management. The volume of internal coordination, planning, touch-base, quick check, status briefings and resource calls fill up the calendars quickly. This doesn’t even count the number of color team meetings that happen before and during any proposal effort — and there are a lot of those within a business intent on growing at all costs. The more senior you go, the more management happens. The graphic below shows the inverse relationship between years of experience and percentage of time focused on client work.

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