Life as a Junior Management Consultant at ERP & Friends – Part 1
For those who don’t know who I am. My name is William Leo, 23 years old from Stockholm. I ended my studies summer of 2019 with 3 years of studying and researching about for example business intelligence, business development, information system, how digitalization will have an impact on businesses and the employees trying to navigate in new landscapes. Furthermore, I also got the change to go to USA for en internship in Florida for 4,5 months as an Business Intelligence intern, at a very fast growing business, SharpSpring. (Read more about my working experience in my profile).
In this article series, I would like to share my experiences and lessons learned starting as a Junior Management Consultant at a fast growing consultant firm ERP & Friends in Stockholm, Sweden.
I will firstly introduce you to my working days, so you can follow my story through this article series and understand what I’m actually doing during the days while working. My work were at the start of my first day at ERP & Friends already divided into two sections, internal and external work which included:
Internal work (40% workload)
- Creating and managing a new plan for communicating on social media and external networking for ERP & Friends.
- Developing a new website with more integrations towards marketing tools to simplify our sales process.
- R&D e.g. about upcoming tech trends (AI, IoT, Blockchain, Cloud tech, 5G), system vendors, project mangement, system architecture and enterprise architecture.
External work (60% workload)
- Consulting assignment at ÅF Pöyry (Today AFRY) as ERP Project Manager assistant in August, implementing a new ERP for 17 000 people.
To really try and visualize and introduce you further to a working day for me at AFRY. The best way to do that is via, lessons learned from the huge spann of different tasks that ends up on the project manager assistants table in a ERP implementation project at AFRY. In this article series I will therefore present 1-2 lessons learned with each new article.
Lesson learned 1: To be able to govern over 500 test cases, you need a test tracker tool.
From the start of the project, I was partly assigned to work together with the system vendor through the process of creating, iterating and maintaining business requirement specifications for the new system solution. Others that were and still are involved in this process process owners (finance, project management, HR), system vendor and other stakeholders to the project. Bare in mind when reading this lesson learned, that I’ve experienced that without a good enough business requirement specification. It is almost impossible for the system vendor to develop the system into something that customer requested. It is therefore a key factor, before reaching the testing phase and deployement of system functionality. To allocate as much resources as needed into producing business requirement specifications for the system solution.
When a system vendor has finished developing the system functionality for each business requirement specification. It is now time for the customer to start testing new functionality as well as the standard functionality. To keep track of the progress through this process, with project team as big as at our current customer and over 500 test cases. A test tracker tool is necessary.
At our customer, the system vendor is deploying the new functionality in cycles. Which means that not all of the new functionality is ready and developed at the first time when deploymed into our test enviornment. Our project team then tests parts of the functionality within these cycles and hopefully doesn’t find any bugs or errors. If this is not the case, the system vendor needs to conduct the corrections and the customer would need to re-test the functionality which means more work for both parties.
Above, you will see a snapshot taken from the test tracker tool that is being used at our customer and below you will find a more detailed page of a specific test case.
It is highly recommended by ERP & Friends to manage test tracking with a a test tracker tool. Testing new system functionality is a way to find potential bugs, errors and other flaws in the system that needs to be fixed by the system vendor. But also to make sure that the system acts as expected and supports the customers needs. Another reason why a test tracker tool is necessary, is because it allows the project team to gain a hollistic view over different status (e.g. ready for testing, testing done, parked for investigation, corrections from system vendor), of each test case. But also to prioritize the test cases based on how complex they are or the importance in getting the specific functionality in place before the pilot go-live date. Lastly it makes it easier to assign a responsible project member and a responsible persons at the system vendor to each test case when conducting 500 tests cases and make it more manageable.
Reflection 1: You are always in the spotlight as a Management Consultant. You are hired from the customer, to help them with something they could not have done better themselves. Which means that they expect you to deliver results that weighs up to the their expectations.
Reflection 2: To change a project plan that is supposed to control the whole project too many times can be critical. This is because project members need to have a solid plan as basis, to be able to plan their own time and potentially allocate different tasks to their employees. If changed to many times, there will be lack of trust in the plan and efficiency of project members could decrease.
Reflection 3: For a project manager together with the project team, it is very difficult to realize every risk and every aspect that might take the project into different directions. Therefore, realizing in a very early stage that there has to be room for the scope of the project to change is a key factor for project management in ERP implementation.
To summarize these 5-6 months at ERP & Friends and working externally the majority of my time. I dare to say that I have during my time at ERP & Friends working as a consultant at AFRY. I argueably have met some of the most competent and experienced people in my life (so far).
Hope you enjoyed reading this and stay tuned for my second part of this article series coming in February.