Professional IS Consulting

Subject ISYS90045 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Semester 1: 36 hours (block mode); Semester 2: 36 hours, comprising of one 3 hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment:

200 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Sean Maynard


Dr Sean Maynard


Subject Overview:


This practice-oriented subject allows students to develop their ability to build and utilise good working relationships with internal and external clients. Feedback from industry indicates that these “consulting skills” are highly valued, and an important factor in employment and promotion decisions. Information systems professionals learn that technical knowledge is seldom sufficient in itself, and must be supported by the ability to understand, communicate and collaborate with clients.

Students work individually and in syndicate groups. Classes are interactive and focus on practice, with reading and research tasks undertaken largely outside class. Most classes feature a guest speaker from industry.

Topics covered include understanding business and management needs, setting and managing expectations, reporting and staying on track, giving advice, written and verbal communication, consulting ethics, and the business of consultancy.

The subject will enhance students’ ability to manage relationships with stakeholders, communicate effectively about IS services, and engage effectively with senior decision makers in organisations.

Indicative Content

  • Defining consulting
  • Understanding the challenge of consulting
  • Understanding the client: What managers want
  • Establishing Expectations
  • Selling IT Services
  • Managing Expectations
  • Consulting practices
  • Working with the client
  • Meetings, Interviews, Workshops
  • The trusted advisor
  • Effective written and verbal communication
  • Dealing with problems and difficult people
  • Negotiation Basics
Learning Outcomes:

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Understand the importance of the consulting process and the factors which determine its success
  2. Make use of the body of research relevant to IS consulting
  3. Elicit client expectations for a consulting assignment or service
  4. Plan a substantial information systems consulting project
  5. Communicate technical concepts to a management audience, both verbally and in writing
  6. Approach consulting problems, including “people issues” in a disciplined and effective manner
  7. Work effectively in a team to collectively achieve practical consulting outcomes.
  • Group based report (30%) with 3-4 group members of approximately 4000 words due in the second third of semester (30%), requiring 40-45 hours of work per student. Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) 1 to 7 are addressed in this report.
  • One class presentation of first group based report (10%) of approximately 15 minutes duration, requiring 13-15 hours of work per student. ILOs 1 to 7 are addressed in this presentation.
  • Group based report (15%) with 2 group members of approximately 1500 words due in the last third of semester, requiring 18-22 hours of work per student. ILOs 1 to 7 are addressed in this report.
  • One class presentation of second group based report (5%) of approximately 5 minutes duration, requiring 7-8 hours of work per student. ILOs 1 to 7 are addressed in this presentation.
  • One written 2 hour closed book end of semester examination (40%). ILOs 1 to 6 are addressed in the examination. The examination is a hurdle and must be passed to pass the subject.

Hurdle requirement: To pass the subject students, must obtain:

  • at least 50% of the marks available in the non-examination based assessment
  • at least 50% of the marks available in the examination
Prescribed Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Problem Analysis
  • Critical thinking
  • Independent learning
  • Confidence at presenting to a business audience
  • Teamwork
Links to further information:

Learning and Teaching Methods

12 (half day) lectures are delivered covering all examinable topics.

Each lecture focusses on a major topic of consultancy practice and is supported by case studies from real world consulting situations.

A guest speaker is provided every 2nd lecture from a current professional IS/IT consulting business or a CIO from a major commercial organisation that regularly hires IS/IT consultants.

Indicative Key Learning Resources

Each lecture, a number of prescribed readings are advised to the students.

In addition, Recommended texts are as follows:

Weinberg, G: Secrets of Consulting, 1986

Block, P: Flawless Consulting, Second Edition, Pfeiffer, 2000.

Maister, D, Green, C & Galford, R: The Trusted Advisor, Free Press, 2000.

Maister, D: Managing the Professional Service Firm, Free Press, 1993.

Careers/Industry Links

A number of major consulting firms provide guest speakers focussing on real world consulting practices, issues and required personal attributes. These speakers also have an opportunity to promote their organisations to students for potential recruitment opportunities.

Related Course(s): Doctor of Philosophy - Engineering
Master of Information Systems
Master of Information Systems
Master of Philosophy - Engineering
Master of Science (Information Systems)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: MIS Professional Specialisation

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