A day in the life of a Project Implementation Consultant
Don’t you just dread telling people you work in IT? Most people I know outside the industry have little understanding of the breadth of skills, roles and activities this small acronym covers and immediately think you can fix their laptop, configure printers and sort out their email account. Though to be honest, most of us probably can but it’s not what we’re good at and definitely what we want or have been trained to do. I asked a good friend of mine, Dinesh, if he would write a blog to describe what his role of a Project Implementation Consultant entailed. Dinesh was kind enough to oblige and if you ever wondered what was involved in being a Project Implementation Consultant, here is just a small insight into a typical day. Be warned though, if you thought it would be all high-tech and world-wide travel you might have to think again!
A Peek Inside Dinesh’s Diary
5:30am So, as a field based consultant, a day in the Head Office means an early start. It’s a fact I never seem to find a job with an office close to home. Trying to be quiet as I get up, get ready and make tea to pour into a space aged vacuum cup flask for the drive in.
7:00am Stuck on the M1, not the most beautiful of places to be stranded, I look down and spy my vacuum flask. Luke warm tea with a metallic after taste: ahhh this is living the dream.
8:00am In early, brilliant! The game of “find a hot desk” is so much easier pre 8:30am. I get settled and prepare paperwork for a round of meetings, the first one being at 9:15am, I run through project plan, costing spreadsheets, etc… The current project is a Finance System, which is predominately head office based but has some satellite office implications. My role consists of project planning, scheduling software updates and implementations, writing up documentation and training which is great as it keeps the job varied. As well as the head office system implementation, there are 15 offices to consider and given the Big Bang switch over approach all training will be held prior to go live.
9:00am All hot desks have now been taken and people are walking about laden with laptops, grumbling and looking for somewhere to base themselves. I smirk caressing my desk as they pass.
9:15am I get a text from my boss “going to be late”. Brilliant, he lives 15 minutes away!
Never mind, I get another coffee. There is always a lot to do such as training documentation, screen captures annotations and anyway, it will take 10 minutes to round up the other meeting attendees.
9:30am Meeting commences, for my boss and other people connected to project. It goes well, although I do note that people are getting restless around 30 minutes in. Who says goldfish have small attention spans? They haven’t met people from our IT infrastructure team. Note to self: keep future meeting times to 30 minutes or less!
11:00am I go back to my hot desk, to find someone has done a Cuckoo and taken up residence despite the fact they can see my bag and coat on the chair. I give them my special, honed “I’m back, leave” glare and they respond appropriately. Back to work, I have a variety of actions from the meeting:
• Send out training invites
• Book rooms
• Finish documentation
• Schedule update installs with the software supplier
• Raise change requests for enhancements and supplier access
12:30pm Have lunch with a couple of friends, in the staff restaurant. It’s good to catch up with colleagues and have a bit of a laugh. Surprising as it may seem implementing a system that involves IT and Finance is hardly something that involves side-splitting hilarity.
1:00pm Another meeting, this time with the Purchase Ledger team, to go through the results of system testing. Where I can I answer questions and demonstrate features and how the system can best be used but there are also questions to note and refer back to the supplier.
3:00pm I spend time documenting the meeting and contact the software supplier with the questions I couldn’t answer. I make sure I update the training documentation and notes to clarify a few points noted in the PL meeting.
4:00pm Time to depart, I need to leave on time due to the long drive home. Leave just 10 minutes later and I can lose hours sitting in peak time traffic.
7:00pm I’ve not quite done yet, I have to complete the documentation changes I’d planned to do today to stay on track, update the project update report and respond to emails that arrived after I’d left the office. I swear people wait until they watch me leave the office before asking questions so they can send an email instead of talking to me. Still, it’s all in days work!
8:30pm Time to re-introduce myself to my family, relax and kick-back. All too soon it will be time to drag myself out of bed, tip-toe downstairs, fill the space vacuum cup flask with tea and do it all again tomorrow. But do you know what? I love my job and wouldn’t want to do anything else!
Dinesh Patel, Project Implementation Consultant
Dinesh is a highly experienced project consultant currently working at the Carlisle Group. If you have any questions for Dinesh contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be sure to put you in touch.
What Makes a Good Project Implementation Consultant
If you are looking to recruit a strong Project Implementation Manager or Consultant, think carefully about the skills you need to recruit before you start to advertise, the success of your project will depending on selecting the right candidate who will buy into the project and be reliable, focused and determined until the project has been securely and successfully implemented.
An ideal Project Implementation Consultant will have:
- Leadership and man management skills, the ability to lead people in achieving the same goal
- Excellent communication skills, implementations are a time of change and some people are not great at dealing with this so communication is key
- Great training skills with the ability to engage and train attendees with varying levels of skill and knowledge
- Strong Project Management principles for planning, managing the project, manage risks, control cost and time
- Collaboration Skills
- The knack of building good relationships and managing conflicts
- Good business acumen and understanding of the strategy, decision making and workflow processes