The Doldrums of Consulting

By: Brian Cardarella
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The Doldrums is a sailing term. It means when you’re stuck on the water with no wind. Your only option is to wait for the wind to pick up so you can continue on your way.

DockYard is currently in the doldrums.

Maybe this isn’t something that a consultancy should publicly admit, but we’ve seen client engagement significantly dry up for us in the past month and a half. Where we were selling and turning clients away a few months ago, we are struggling to close a single deal right now. This is the ebb and flow of consulting, it happens. Our only option is to wait for the wind to pick up so we can continue on our way.

I was speaking with a few other software (Ember) consultancies recently and they voiced similar stories. I am not certain why Ember has seen such a steep drop off in interest. One theory is that Ember is currently in the Trough of Sorrow

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Does a framework follow similar trends to a startup? Perhaps. In any event, we’re now trying to diversify our offerings. I announced last week that DockYard is now offering Staff Augmentation services. This has piqued some interest but we’re seeing a lot of inquiries for starting a few months from now.

It is funny because I know in a month or two we’ll be fine. We just have to survive the thin times, which is always stressful. How we weather this will speak a lot about DockYard as a company. It is said the only way to survive the Trough of Sorrow is going to be company culture. If this is true then I’m quite confident in us.

I also realize that we’re towards the end of a financial quarter. Companies tend to reach out after the start of a quarter, but if I were them I wouldn’t wait. If companies were to contact us now they would find us in a position that would be easy to negotiate with.

I’d be interested in hearing from other shops: have you experienced The Doldrums? What pulled you through? What strategies have you put in place to avoid them in the future?