My job title is "consultant" and fortunately from time to time I get do work that truely matches Bruce's definition of consulting (with which I agree). That type of work is very satisfying. But I wouldn't want to miss being directly involved in building software, so to not give advice from the sideline. I.e., getting your feet dirty (in dutch: "met je poten in de modder staan" ;).
An important point that Bruce stresses is the need to invest time and effort in maintaining your knowledge and gaining new knowledge. This is indeed very important to be effective as a consultant. I get to do R&D 1-2 days a week. I consider myself fortunate because I must admit that the majority of my colleagues work fulltime on projects for clients. Apart from being able to try out new technologies, reading blogs, thinking about software architecture and development during my day job, I also invest quite some spare time in this.
What do you think? Should everybody in a consulting firm be given time to do these type of things? Can a consulting firm in return demand employees to invest spare time in gaining relevant knowledge? And with that I mean going beyond just investing time in getting a MCAD or MCSD certification.
Or should a consulting firm make a clear distinction between consultants (with a high hourly rate but not 100% billable) and people who work fulltime on projects (with a lower hourly rate, but 100% billable)?
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.