Life as a Junior Management Consultant at ERP & Friends – Part 3
For this third part of my article series about my working experiences as a managment consultant I’m going to focus on a few key things that I have learned working in different projects and end things of with some general reflections as in my prior articles.
- Adaptation to the current global situation and how it has affected ERP & Friends
- Marketing and working with our partners to find new leads, running webbinars and administrate networking occasions.
- Maintaining focus and delivering quality work in four different external projects and internal projects at the same time
I think we all had some high hopes for 2020, for me personally aswell. I remember a very special day which really set my persepective on things, which was the 16th of March, the day when I as any other day had a normal working day at one of our customers with an office with normally 5000 employee but now was almost deserted. But looking back at almost 15 weeks working from home, it hasn’t been that big of a difference anyway.
During this spring I have been involved in four different projects (3 new ones) driven by ERP & Friends in realtive to autumn 2019, when I was involved in one project. Furthermore, we have recruited some new consultants to our network, started a new formal partnership with an up an coming company. We have also managed to keep our occupancy of our consultants at our customers. Which I believe could indicate two things, the projects which we are involved in are highly prioritized by the sponsor and/or we deliver value that our customers believe are worth making room for in the budget even though many businesses are in very critical situation
During spring of 2020 ERP & Friends have started to conduct webinars in order to display our knowledge in certain areas and potentially generate new leads. Our first two webinars was about how to choose the correct ERP-system and the second one was about how to govern change management in a big implementation project. For the first webinar, I was assigned to create the PowerPoint material which later would be presented by my superior. This assignment was a very good experience for me and I quickly got the grasp of the foundation of how to prepare for a presentation and what material that should be included. Furthermore I also learned how to create a storyline and keeping a common thread throughout the presentation, putting myself in the listeners perspective. If you would like to check out the end result, please follow this link.
Please feel free to sign up here for the next webinar in August 2020, were we will talk about process intelligence, the future of processmapping using data instead of using time consuming traditional methods.
Going into the different projects that I have been involved in the last couple of months. I think working with different projects on a daily basis are refreshing and has steepen my learning curve even more if that was even possible. Nevertheless, ERP & Friends assigned me to assist in workshop documentation at one of our customers. Which included taking notes and catch what was suppose to be the start of a requirement specification for a new system module related to customer service in their system architecture. The workshops took place during a couple of weeks were I was also involved in discussions regarding e.g. internal requirement prioritization, with system vendor and the project sponsor (managment directors). I really got my head around the starting point for a new potential system/module and what key actions to take in the very first stages of similar projects for the future.
The Excel template that I used for documenting and verifying the requirements for the new system looked something like this:
Another project that I worked in during this spring was about conducting a due diligence for a company who recently had been acquired by another company. Our task were mainly to report their readiness for starting a ERP implementation project to the acquiring company. Factors that played a big part in this due diligence were mainly if they had the internal resources and competence needed for conducting a new system implementation. Other answers that we wanted to look for were how they operate today and in their case, what manual work is too time consuming and needs to be replaced by a system.
Making sure that we understand how the individual company operate was crucial for ensuring our delivery of a quality assured assessment to the stakeholders. In order to conduct a due diligence for any company in this situation, we always use our own “Ready, set, go” model as a signature trait for ERP & Friends. Furthermore, I assisted in creating a processmap describing the customers main process flow which helped in the presentation for the stakeholders so they could see where there are room for improvement for example.
As previously described in the second paragraph, we are currently undergoing a new project which ends with the webinar in August related to data driven processmapping. During the later part this spring I was assigned as Project Manager for this smaller project where we also included assistance from our new partner company Agilon. The thought behind the future of process mapping is to be able to with less resources and hours get a on point view e.g. from the overhead division which includes a few business areas all the way down to an employee and when they report time and how often. In this project we are also trying to figure out where there are any decrepancys and how big they are between different business areas and why. If we take a closer look at the picture, we can see different lead times for each and every row in the dataset which has extracted from the customers database/s in order to conduct this kind of process map with data as basis instead of traditional methods that includes time consuming interviews.
When we already are on the subject of data, I would like to share my experiences of working with what we call basic data into a new system solution during a system implementation project at AFRY.
What is basic data? (My interpretation and knowledge so far)
Basic data is something very crucial which sets the scene and gives the project member a opportunity to test certain workflows which is either part of the standard solution or added as a configuration based on the requirement specification by the implementing company. Basic data is the foundation of any system e.g. What employee types do we use? What report codes should we use and how many? And much, much more. Without basic data you can’t ensure that the system workflows work properly.
During the spring at AFRY I was assigned as responsible for putting a work process for basic data together in order to ensure that the project members that are actually deciding on what basic data to use and then adding it into the system. That they knew exactly how to do it and also reported what had been done, in order to ensure for future usage when the system has been implemented. Below you will see a picture which is a fraction of the excel sheet which we use to centralize the information about e.g. what data has been added, into what environment and what company/divison/section depending on the company size.
For me it has been and is a very knowledgable task that was assigned to me and I hope to together with my project members, make sure that the basic data in the new system is useful and correct.
Reflection 1: To be wokring in many different projects at the same time has been very valuable since it requires you to be adaptable. Some days could include three meetings in three different projects and during the later part of this spring, I’ve also was also a operative project manager for one of these projects, which really set the tone for my future working as a management consultant.
Reflection 2: Something worth mentioning is how I find that our big implementation project is progressing during COVID-19 situation. Since the 16th of March, all of our project members at AFRY have been working from home which really put an edge on a already fragile project. Even though we were forced to replace external competence with internal resources I believe that the working spirit and the will to ensure quality for a future ERP-system did not decrease.
To summerize my first year as a management consultant before my summer holiday. I would like to say a big thank you to ERP & Friends for choosing me and letting me learn and grow for each new day. Come August, I’ll be ready for new challenges.
Life as a Junior Management Consultant Part 4 coming this autumn.