Remote consulting

A highly interactive, flexible and context-specific format which responds to the learning needs of partner institutions in various technical and management fields.

Area of application

Remote consulting can be applied in all fields of capacity development that are relevant for PTB projects, ranging from technical to management or even policy topics. In contrast to technical trainings or workshops, remote consulting is a highly interactive format that flexibly addresses a current situation and needs of a partner organization. As a context-specific format, remote consulting provides support for local challenges and targets staff from the same or at least a comparable context (otherwise please refer to Virtual Classroom Training).


Remote consulting is a highly interactive format that takes place in a live conversation setting and gives the participants the opportunity to ask questions or raise issues at any time. In this sense, it is not possible to offer consulting in an asynchronous manner, i.e. on demand. For such formats, please refer to the descriptions of lectures, videos, etc.

The target group can include technical or management staff in partner institutions. The number of participants would typically be limited to no more than four people, as bigger groups do not allow for the necessary level of interaction. Moreover, the number of participants should be limited to staff that is directly involved and actively engaged with the respective subject matter. All participants should be ready to take an active part in the consulting process; observers are not foreseen.

Virtual mode

One of the distinct advantages of remote consulting is that it can be organized on short notice, as it is not necessary to book flights, comply with visa requirements, and arrange other logistical details. This makes it possible to quickly react to partner needs or problems that urgently have to be dealt with. It also makes it a more cost-efficient option. However, a specific challenge of remote consulting is how to make up for on-site presence.



The choice of methods depends on the scope of consulting and is similar to those of related formats, such as group meetings or structured bilateral meetings.

To make remote consulting meetings more effective, partners should define and communicate their most urgent needs prior to each meeting. The consultant should verify at the beginning of the meeting how exactly the participants would most benefit from the meeting, including whether additional urgent topics have come up, etc. The meeting time should be flexible enough to react to such newly arising topics. It is recommended to close the meeting with a short feedback session and identification of next steps.

After each consultancy session, the consultant or the partners should draft short minutes with “to-do” tasks, which can be taken as basis for the next meeting.



An initial meeting should be held with the relevant team of the partner organization to clearly define the scope, objectives and timeframe of the consulting process. Documenting in writing the agreed scope, objectives and time plan of the consulting process helps to strengthen the commitment of all involved parties.

In the context of remote consulting it is particularly important that consultants rely on documents such as organizational analyses, capacity development strategies or other assessments of partner capacities. The project coordinator should share these Capacity WORKS outputs with the consultants.

To increase the effectiveness and sustainability of consulting activities, consultants should encourage the project partners to take an active role in the preparation and follow-up of the meetings. This may include defining deadlines for “homework” assignments or drafting documents to be handed in.




After the learning needs have been identified in close cooperation with the relevant staff, the project coordinator can provide the organizational support, e.g. contact potential consultants and set up a preliminary meeting with the partner organizations. This meeting should be used to clarify the scope, objectives and timeframe of the remote consulting which is also subject to the availability of the respective consultant. In the ideal case, the consulting can start shortly after the initial partner request. The frequency of meetings can be flexibly tailored to partner needs and urgency, ranging from once per month to several times per week.



The costs of remote consulting equal the number of expert days times the daily rate of the consultantplus interpretation, if necessary. As no additional travel costs and expert days for business trips are required, remote consulting is a relatively cost-efficient option.

However, it is a challenge to gain a clear understanding of the situation and the context without on-site presence. Therefore, the consultant might need more working time/ expert days than usual for document study in preparation for the meeting.



Remote consulting can be conducted via different videoconferencing tools. PTB recommends the use of virtual rooms by Deutsches Forschungsnetz (DFN) or Tixeo. These virtual rooms can be hosted by PTB project coordinators or assistants upon request.

Necessary hardware includes a headset, a microphone and a camera.



Remote consulting requires the involvement of the following roles:

Project coordinator and/or project assistant:
provides organisational support (such as contacting consultants, scheduling meetings and hosting videoconferences), steering and monitoring of the consulting process.


Oliver Ditthardt

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