Consultants are from Mars, Clients are from Venus (part 1): Recapping the PSMJ AEC Summit

Posted by Kyle Ridley on December 17, 2015

Business Meeting

As reported earlier this month, Deltek was in full attendance at PSMJ Resources’ annual architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) summit in San Francisco, Calif. While representatives were busy manning our exhibit booth and presenting on talent management best practices, we also made sure to take part in many of the learning sessions focused on effective leadership, innovation and company growth.

One workshop of particular interest to many Deltek and GovWin IQ clients was “Consultants are from Mars, Clients are from Venus – Why Your Public-Sector Clients Act the Way They Do,” presented by PSMJ’s Michael Ellegood. The session offered AEC consultants insight into the public sector mentality, how to make your mark as a trusted advisor, and the pitfalls of failing firms.

An unfortunate trend in public sector projects is that most are delivered late and over budget. Many factors contribute to this, including declining funds, lack of public trust, strict administrative oversight, and poor project management tools. Ellegood illustrated the typical public sector business model with this easy-to-follow image:


Ellegood stressed that the above model is inefficient and outdated, and governments must move from a process-driven mindset and adopt a project-centric culture to enhance results.

While the complicated public sector model presents obstacles for AEC consultants (fewer projects, more competition and tougher negotiations), it also offers new opportunity. Ellegood noted that public agencies rely more on consultants for program management and staff augmentation as they slash budgets and reduce staff. Therefore, consultants may need to adjust their business approach to adhere to new proposal requirements.

GovWin IQ’s state and local database contains many active opportunities for staff augmentation services. Here’s a look at a just a couple potential contracts on the horizon.

  • The Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services may have a requirement for managed staffing services. The state currently has a contract in place with Guidesoft that is scheduled to expire September 30, 2016.
  • Massachusetts will have a requirement for statewide staff augmentation upon expiration of many contracts in June 30, 2016. A rebid solicitation may be released in the January-March 2016 timeframe, and Deltek is closely monitoring all procurement activity.

Ellegood also urged consultants to stay on top of project costs to avoid the all-too-common over-budget theme. He suggested sending monthly invoices to public sector clients so they are aware of dollars spent.

“Public sector accounting systems are so poor that if you don’t send them an invoice, they don’t know they’re spending any money,” said Ellegood.

This statement rings true when looking at the GovWin IQ databases. Several government entities are seeking or will be seeking vendors specialized in accounting system solutions, including:

You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

Stay tuned for part two of this session recap, which will focus on key qualities of trusted consultants and how to better understand client needs.