You are starting your new Project Management Consulting Job. You went through a long interview process and persevered. Finally, you have been selected and hired as a Project Management Consultant. What do you do when you eventually show up to your contract Project Manager Job? In this article, we’ve have put together 7 tips best Project Management Professional Services firms teach their consultants to do.
7 tips from top Project Management Consultant
A Project Management Consultant is generally expected to start contributing to the job within a short period – typically within the first few days. Otherwise, their credibility to deliver tends to be questioned. Though these contributions may not be major such as delivering a milestone, reporting managers are constantly looking for patterns to build confidence in you. In order to ensure you come off as an effective PM, in this article I’ve outline few tips that get you contributing right away:
- Get familiar with the facilities: Generally, you will be given a tour of the facility on the first day. Key items to note are where each department is and the social climate of the office. As you move around the office, note where all the conference rooms are, their sizes, and capabilities. This will be important as you will be scheduling many meetings in the future. Some clients have offices in multiple buildings. It will be essential to know who is in each building and understand what transportation is available to go from one building to another if they are far away. Take note of the travel time between buildings or meeting rooms as this will help to schedule meetings with participants from different buildings.
- Reconfirm project scope and detail. Spend some time to confirm details regarding the project you will be working on. Make sure your hiring manager allocates time to update you on specifics of the project. Sometimes, you may be assigned to a project that is different from the one you interviewed for. Also, hiring managers typically do not disclose many confidential details about the project (and the company) until you are onboard. Take this opportunity to get a good grasp of the “true” status of the project and the environment. It is also possible that you may be assigned to a project that is totally different from what you interviewed for.
- Training. As a new hire, there will be training to be completed. Many of those are general training, but if you are working in a regulated environment, there will be many additional pieces of training to be completed. It is essential that you complete them quickly, as this will be a good indication of your efficiency in completing new tasks.
- Special processes. If you are in a regulated environment, your project will involve various validations and checks. Each company has a different process for validating those projects. Since validation is often on the critical path of a project, it is important for you to have a thorough understanding of how processes are integrated into the regular project SDLC. Pay special attention to the number of documentation required and the requirements for approvals as that will often dictate the timeline for your project.
- PMO practice. Many companies have existing PMO office established. Once again, it is important to understand the PMO processes and its expectation for your project. Take special note on how the PMO interacts with CSV processes. The integration (or lack of) between PMO and CSV will have an impact on your project’s complexity and timeline. If there isn’t a PMO, then you may be asked to put together a project methodology. This, of course, will increase your responsibility, but will provide a means for you to demonstrate your knowledge of project management practices in real-life.
- Stakeholders. Of course, it is essential for you to get to know the key stakeholders. Schedule time to speak with them, introduce yourself and try to understand their understanding and sentiment towards the project. This will help your assessment on how much work is required to align expectations.
- High-Level Plan. Once you gathered all the above information, your first deliverable is coming up with a high-level plan for the next 3-4 weeks. This will allow you the opportunity to show your client how much you understand the project and your role in the project. It will also allow them to provide you with feedback for further alignment. If you are in the preparation phase of the project, this will be an excellent time to set up regular update meetings with your key sponsors.
In conclusion, to be successful as a project management consultant, one first needs to establish their credibility. If you enjoy the contract Project Manager jobs over permanent ones, establishing similar credibility with each of your clients become very crucial. Hoping this article was a helpful one, to learn more about my (Kenny Yip) background, please connect with me on Linkedin
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