I'm looking for a "short list" of top consulting firm recommendations (Boston, NY area preferred, but US-wide is ok too) to consider from anyone who has had direct experience working with such firms that have really proven their worth to introduce and foster transormative work practice around Agile UX for web design/development teams. To help frame the scope of the consulting, I'm envisioning a 5-8 day cross-discipline/stakeholder workshop and educational service focused on agile UX and collabortive web product design/innovation.
A little background to put this in context:
My company is considering bringing in consultant firm to help enhance an agile process that is already in place, but not as effective as it could be at least in terms of UX integration. Current scrum teams are roughly divided between 80% strictly "back-end" web product development/engineering (mostly w/out or limited direct client interaction) while 20% represent combination of design/development and "front-end" website template design with direct client interaction. This 20% designs/develops CMS-supported, web templates that are either sold as-is and customized by clients later or designed/developed in custom manner with client interaction (agency style). Adopting the agile process to the workflow for this 20% is still new. Very little, if any, of the agile process regularly includes UX (although we do have a small internal UX team).
There is growing interest both at the executive and scrum team ends of the spectrum for better UX integration, but not a clear understanding of how best to morph our process and demonstrate to potentially 100+ individuals how roles and work routines could change for the better. It's the classic case of knowing there must be a more effective way, but uncertainty of how best to execute the necessary change.
Would love to hear from those who worked with outside consultants and have seen positive effects. If you're willing to disclose approximate costs anonymously for reference as well, that would be fantastic!