A familiar tune
Very good and reasonable article in Business 2.0 called Dotcom Inferno: Money to Burn talks about working with consultants on large projects. Not your typical dot-com failure story. It takes a hard look at why engagements with consultants can be dangerous -- and how to manage them. Just about every line in this article resonates with my experiences on very large projects (I'm talking millions of dollars in budget). Clients are unrealistic in demands, consultants say they can work miracles and everyone's usually pissed off at each other at the end of the project.
Tip: Want to have a good vendor manager on a project? Look for someone who's lived through a nightmare of a project with a vendor. These people know what can go wrong and will work to avoid those landmines the second time around. Don't look for the guy with "inside connections" to the vendor or who gets along really well with the rep...butt kissers can't hardly bark, let alone bite when lines get crossed.