Do you ever find yourself in a conversation with someone and they ask you what you do? When I explain to someone that I am a functional consultant, I can usually see the confused glazed look in their eyes begin.
For me, becoming a functional consultant by title has taken a while, but the parts of being one are something I have always done.
A functional consultant is like having a variety of different jobs in one:
Detective: Figuring out the issues at hand.
- A Functional Consultant is a key force in determining the software requirements and hurdles a company or organization is facing. Acting as the middleman between developers and clients, a Functional Consultant must understand the current software/business process, all while understanding the wants and needs for a future solution/software.
Tour Guide: Being the expert.
- A Functional Consultant must be an expert in the software or solution at hand. Someone who comprehends all the technical level details and limitations, while being able to accurately walk anyone thru the limitations and advantages it poses for the client. This comprehensive system knowledge is what sets a Functional Consultant apart, allowing them to recommend and assist clients with the best possible solution and road maps to comprehensively solve the hurdles they are facing.
Public Relations Director: A translator and clear communicator.
- Along with the ability to walk clients thru system functions, they must also be able to translate business processes, requirements, and challenges into tasks for developers and users to understand. Being able to accurately capture the needs of a project and the clarity for both sides to understand the tasks at hand, and the progress being made on a project.
- Through this process, a functional consultant must have strong communication and relationship-building skills. They serve as the key contact for not only the client and end-users but the whole technical team — to make sure the solution is correctly being reached.
Teacher: keeping teams informed and educated.
- A functional consultant is also in charge of creating documentation for users once the solution is fully developed. They will demo and train the end-users on the solution, as well as serve as the first line of support once it is delivered to the client.
Overall, next to the occasional identity crisis, being a Functional Consultant is just being the glue holding a team together. You must make sure all parties are heard, understood and issues get solved in a timely, and effective manner.
While it may sound like a juggling act, being a functional consultant allows you to form incredible cross-functional bonds within your team, as well as your clients’ teams, all while helping your client successfully navigate and solve the biggest hurdles to become a more efficient and productive business.
RLauren Wooll is a Functional Consultant for Caf2Code.com, your go-to Microsoft Gold Certified Dynamics 365 development consultant agency. Read more →