Friday, November 26, 2010

Trying to take the "Con" out of Consultants

Over the past few months I've had some reports land on my desk for me to read and comment on, some haven't been too bad, some have been truly abysmal. So here's the thing, your clients might think they're wonderful but the people who do the reviewing, commenting and sometimes even approving soon get to know who knows what they're talking about and who doesn't. People and companies that hand in good work have an easier time getting through the system, people and companies that hand in shit? Well, they tend to get scrutinised a lot more and it really is a pain for all concerned so in the interest of making it easier for all of us here's some suggestions on how you can improve things.

1) Use the fucking spellcheck and make sure you spell the location of the proposal correctly, it really is unprofessional when you've got the name of the road/town etc right on the title page and wrong everywhere else.

2) Don't get carried away with using big words, they may impress your client but if you've got spelling mistakes through the text as well as a tendency to throw in big words everywhere we'll just think you're an idiot.

3) Botanical nomenclature, serious, go and read up on it, it is capital letter for the first letter of the Genus, lower case for the species and the name should be in italics e.g. Eucalyptus robusta. It shows professionals that you are one too, or at least have a reasonable understanding (and again correct spelling and try to keep up to date with name changes, though the name change thing isn't as vital).

4) Nomenclature again "sp." means single species, "spp." means multiple species, if you don't know the difference learn it and use it otherwise we don't know if you're to multiple species or singular.

5) Ensure adequate time on site, one eight hour visit in winter is not long enough for a flora survey, fauna survey and targetted species survey, really, it's not. And try to get identifications past just the genus level (particularly when there's only three species in that genus in the area and all of them are very distinct)

6) If you're doing a targetted species search for endangered orchids (particularly terrestrial) do it at a time of year the flower is out because otherwise you're not going to fucking find it (and don't bullshit me with your PhD and try to tell me the survey was undertaken by "experienced staff", experienced staff wouldn't make that mistake).

7) Even the most flogged out property will have more than 27 native plant species on 360 Ha of land (and more than 7 native animal species), you have to remember that the document you write may be read by someone that knows the area.

8) Make sure the species you mention in the text are included in your appendix.

9) Mark the fucking location on a map of where you did the survey, don't just give grid co ordinates, it makes work for us and again, we'll think you're an idiot.

10) Use appropriate and recognised methodologies, if you're not sure ask someone and don't go on about which methodologies you didn't use and not tell us about which ones you did otherwise we'll just think you're making up shit.

Start off with those and it will make all of our lives a lot easier and remember if you try bullshitting your way through, you will be found out.

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