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I currently do a number of things at work, but I have no idea what to officially call myself?, I was a IT/Telco Design Engineer previously and now I do more Program Coordination/Governance, Resource Management and Project Management work as part of the PMO team, but I still do volunteer on some occasions to help out in some software dev or Solutions Architecture work, but my main focus now is really towards PM.

I have been searching around and asking questions to Seniors at work but everyone seems to have a different definition of "Consultant", there was even a small argument between two colleagues about its meaning when I asked and whether it applies to what I currently do, or if PM's are able to call themselves Consultants..

On my Job Application it officially states that I'm a Consultant , but I'm not sure if this is what I truely am? which confuses me to what I should state on my LinkedIn page without removing the fact that I'm part of the PMO team?, I mean from what I have gathered now, a Consultant is an employee who works closely with a client to solve their current business and Telco/IT issues, but on this following page on wikipedia it states something a bit different: Consulting Levels

So what is a Consultant?, what does a Consultant do?, can I call myself a Consultant even while being part of the PMO team?, as I would've called myself a Junior PM, but I'm doing so much other things.

Its like when I was a IT/Telco Design Engineer, I would do Programming, Testing, Solution Architecture, Support, BA...etc, it was all consolidated within "Design Engineer", so is that what a Consultant is too?

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    I'm not convinced this is a project management question. Could you rephrase this away from "consultant" and towards the distinction between project specialist, Project Manager, etc.? – Mark C. Wallace Mar 27 '13 at 14:48
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    I recommend moving to Workplace SE: workplace.stackexchange.com – Andrew Clear Mar 27 '13 at 15:25
  • Migration discussion: We're currently discussing this question, and possible migration, in our chat room if anyone wants to participate. – jmort253 Apr 4 '13 at 1:45
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    Hi, Please note that I have stated in the chatroom that I will be modifying my question to meet the rules and guidelines of the PM StackExchange website. – I AM L Apr 8 '13 at 8:28
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You can always call yourself consultant, because the definition of a consultant is not that strict:

A person who provides expert advice professionally.

You are person (check), you are an expert, therefore you can give expert advices (check), and you'll plan to earn your living from doing it - you are a professional - (check). Due to the nature of the job - people don't need expert advices all the team - the consultant is a sub-contractor work, and they are often considered as externals. They come and go.

Since consultants are externals, organisations don't use the consultant title internally. They use a version of a manager: change manager, expert manager, etc. So if you are looking for a name inside your organisation, find a fancy/sexy manager title and use that one.

  • Thank you for answering, as I am more heading towards a Project Management type of role and with me doing all of these duties, I have no idea what Manager name I can call myself....How about just "Manager"? – I AM L Mar 27 '13 at 15:07
  • Then one can ask: "what are you managing"? and you are back to square one. call yourself project manager. Although in certain company cultures the title means more than the actions, don't waste too much time on figuring it out. – Zsolt Mar 27 '13 at 15:37
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    A consultant is not burdened with responsibility, but a manager is. That's the dividing line. – Deer Hunter Mar 27 '13 at 18:44
  • @DeerHunter spot on! – Zsolt Mar 27 '13 at 20:25
  • I am a consultant and I have tons of responsibility. – David Espina Mar 28 '13 at 11:01
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Simple answer: If your client asks you to do something, you're not a consultant. If they ask you what they should do, you're a consultant.

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It does not sound like you are a consultant at all. A consultant would provide advisory services, usually to a variety of clients concurrently, in determining the best course of future action.

Within the realm of software development specifically, which from the sound of it you are involved in, a consultant would assist an external client in designing a framework to address a particular business problem, but not offer to build the solution itself. Leveraging this skill entails that work be delegated to outsiders who have greater expertise in the technical aspect. More importantly, the consultant's skill-set is generally not focused toward development or implementation.

Your function seems to be internal and development-related, and therefore you'd likely be considered a solution architect of some description.

In most cases I would consider "project manager" as a purely internal title.

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Definitions abound, but mine is typically that if you provide expert advice to a group that you don't normally/regularly work for/with, then that can be considered 'consulting'.

And payment is not a factor.

I have been paid to provide services to organizations I don't work for. I have provided expert advice to organizations on a pro bono basis. I have provided expert advice on my area of expertise to a dept I didn't work for.

The key (for me) is that you're providing advice that isn't a part of your normal job, ie: you're a PM and you provide pm advice/services to the organization. That's your job, that's not consulting.

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