Product Consulting Companies, What Do They Do?
Many companies realize the need for product managers, but they don't know how to start or if a product team fits into their existing businesses. Instead, they can hire product consulting firms to provide them the talents and developers to create and maintain their digital products.
McKinsey, Accenture, Deloitte, and many other consulting firms provide production services for their clients.
Some of the companies:
Those companies make money by selling projects to big firms, charging for advice, recommendations, plans, project management, and development work. The budget can range from hundreds of thousands to millions per year.
There are pros and cons to using those services. For example, companies where digital is not their core business, will prefer to hire temporary services like Product Consulting to close their gaps for specific projects. The pros are to have a ready-to-deploy team and predictable cost, but the cons are the cost itself and the quality of the services. If the business opportunity changes mid-way, the price will increase significantly due to the contractual obligations.
I don't recommend hiring product consulting groups for companies where digital is part of the day-to-day operations unless you start from zero and plan to transition to an internal team; you use product consulting groups as a band-aid solution.
I was initially surprised that many FAANG hires product consulting companies to do their jobs. Of course, you would imagine that a product manager would do the work, but sometimes the product managers from a FAANG will hire a product consulting group to do their jobs.
Should I work for a product consulting company?
I think the PM consulting world can be pretty interesting. You will be working like a business management consultant working with executives of top 100 companies; some are even PMs from FAANG.
You can work in many different industries, and you are not attached to one specific area. It will require you to adapt quickly. Also, it gives you the chance to see how specific PM frameworks can stand against different business needs.
There are potentials downsides. For example, you may not be able to work on a product long enough to see its evolution. In addition, you may be pigeonholed in working in a specific part of the product. Also, there are more works for a consultant PM as a PO and potentially less opportunity to define strategies since the client "knows what they want."