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Management CONSULTING PROJECT PROCESS: How To Problem Solve Like A CONSULTANT



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hey guys

you're back with steph and dennis and

today we're talking about the consulting

project process we're going to cover

everything that's involved in a project

when you're a consultant from start to

finish and provide some insight from

den's experience as a consultant at a

big4 firm if you're excited for this

video and want us to do future ones just

like it give us a like down below and

let's get started

all right so first up is actually

finding and acquiring the client or in

other words

business development typically

especially at a lot of these larger

firms it's usually your more senior

people so usually your partners or

senior managers and sometimes even your

managers that are actually going out

there and bringing in clients you know

managing the relationship throughout the

entirety of the project

usually when you're first starting out

especially if you're starting out at a

more junior level you typically don't

have that network and you haven't been

around long enough to really foster a

lot of the relationships that will

actually get you the client but if

you're someone who's well connected that

would obviously come in handy or if

you're coming in as an experienced hire

you have a bit of experience in

whichever industry and you're able to

actually branch out and reach out to

certain professionals well if that's the

case i can definitely tell you that

you'll either be one promoted a lot

quicker than the rest and two you'll

probably get a pretty nice bonus at the

end of the year given the fact that

you're probably spearheading a lot of

these relationships and a lot of these

conversations now when it comes to the

normal course of business development

that typically

involves everyone throughout the firm it

typically involves researching a bunch

of different

clients elaborating on a lot of

established relationships so you know

creating those proposals

creating a lot of different decks and

usually when you're creating a lot of

these proposals the goal is to establish

why your firm and your specific team are

the people for the job and i think the

overall goal really is to show off and

communicate to the client the different

experiences that you've had with

other clients highlight some key

individuals on the team who just have

killer resumes right and probably one of

the most important pieces when you're

preparing these proposals in these decks

would be for you to show the client some

initial recommendations that give them a

sneak peek into the final result

should they acquire your services now

the next step is scoping and staffing

and we kind of touched on this and are

what does a consultant actually do video

so if you haven't checked out that video

make sure you check it out up top after

this video so when it comes to scoping

or project scoping this is usually where

you want to outline what the objectives

are of the project

and you also want to outline what the

actual budget is so that you avoid any

miscommunication especially from a

monetary perspective in my experience

and even before covet hit we usually did

scoping through a phone call of some

sort so usually when the client gives a

verbal commit aka verbal commitment this

is usually where we'll try to set up a

call as soon as possible so that we can

get comfortable on our end whether it be

doing different types of research on the

company

as it relates to that specific project

that we're getting ourselves into

and overall just making sure that we're

actually aligned before we embark on

this new project so now based on your

scoping call or your scoping meeting

depending on your level of experience

it could be a senior could be a manager

could be a senior manager but basically

what they'll do is they'll have some

takeaways from you know the scoping call

or the scoping meeting and based on that

an sow or a statement of work

will actually be prepared so this is a

document that basically outlines

what the project's gonna entail what the

cost is who the resources or specific

employees assigned to this project

are and what the expectation is for

those specific individuals so what are

their hours what are they billing out at

basically the statement of work details

what the contractual obligation is on

our end as the firm

and on there and as the client to avoid

you know any inconsistencies and to

avoid any miscommunication so i kind of

just mentioned this but once scoping is

done the project team leader then has to

go out and actually figure out who's

available

who can be on the team and who's

actually equipped to tackle the ask from

the client now you always have to keep

in mind that the project team isn't

necessarily the most experienced

individuals

in that specific space if you're working

for a big firm even though there's a

whole bunch of different people you also

have to keep in mind that with a whole

bunch of different projects happening

not everyone's going to be available

when you want them to so really what

this does and if you're listening to

this looking to get into consulting then

you should view this as obviously a plus

because if there's a lot of projects

happening then this opens up room for

people who don't necessarily have a

bunch of experience

to actually gain that experience on

these projects and with that the team's

all together and it's time to get

started

alright now in my experience the next

step is usually starting the project

plan and dividing out the tasks this

usually starts off with a kickoff call

with the actual project team and then we

make our way out to actually reaching

out to different people on the client

side so what we typically do is we

divide up tasks based on your level

or if you're someone who's looking to

get to that next level then you would

obviously put your hand up for

you know the next level's work you know

it's kind of funny and i think there's a

pretty huge consensus especially at the

big four

that the senior associate level and

potentially the manager level are

probably one of the worst positions to

be in and obviously i mean this from a

workload perspective given the fact that

once you hit that senior associate level

usually the expectation is for you to

manage the associates below you and the

deliverables but usually and given the

fact that at the big four you're

expected to perform at that next level

you're also expected to be hitting some

of those manager targets as well

a lot of the time especially when you're

working on some of these really big

engagements

if you have multiple seniors then

they'll delegate the work based on their

areas of expertise or where they feel

the most comfortable at so now that

we've got our team set up and we know

who's doing what the next step and keep

in mind we're trying to be as generic as

possible when detailing this project

plan but the next step would be for you

to evaluate the current state and create

a gap analysis this is going to involve

you actually working with the clients

you're going to need to set up either

multiple meetings set up different

workshops

set up different interviews with

different stakeholders throughout the

business

what you need to do at this point in

time is actually establish a good

picture of what the organization looks

like

relative to the different challenges

relative to the different issues that

they're currently having you might start

out a bit high level but as time

progresses and as you gain more

knowledge about the organization

you typically want to go deeper and

deeper until you hit that root cause

or you start really seeing where those

challenges are coming from you'll then

create a deck that summarizes the

current state

looks at the different gaps within the

organization and teases or makes them

think about where they really need to be

so once you make this presentation to

leadership or whoever the project lead

is on their end by the way keep in mind

that there's probably been some

milestones in between where you did

connect with them and you had some sort

of feedback back and forth but once this

deck is completed and you present it

they'll hopefully give you the okay and

then you can start working towards the

future state and crafting what that

messaging is and what that really looks

like

now naturally once all the previous

steps are complete you usually want to

provide the client with some

recommendations

on what they can do although this sounds

simple coming out of my mouth this is

usually where you're going to have the

bulk of your work with these

recommendations that you're providing

the client usually want to give them

several options

and you really want to paint that

picture for them so they understand that

things can actually change

what you want to do is provide them with

an accurate picture of what that change

will look like

and the stakeholders internally that are

needed to make that change happen this

is also something that obviously a lot

of change

management consultants specialize in

right by the way we did an interview not

too long ago with christina choi

otherwise known as kay choi here on

youtube so apart from being a killer

youtuber she is a change management

consultant in the states so if you

haven't checked out that video we'll

link it up top and you can check it out

after this one overall and like i

mentioned when you're providing the

recommendations you want to make it as

realistic as possible but from what i've

seen we do also leave that open line of

communication should the client need any

further clarification or any sort of

help in the future

once those recommendations and that

final deliverable are cleared this is

usually where you want to hear the

client's feedback on the work that you

actually gave them so this may or may

not happen in that same meeting that

you're giving them the recommendations

but usually the client will let you know

whether there's still more work to be

done or if you've done a good job it's

kind of funny because client

communication especially when it comes

to that final deliverable could be one

of those things when you're starting out

that sort of leaves you wondering what

just happened

i've had this conversation many times

with one of my senior managers because

from both of our experience when the

clients happy they usually say

nothing but believe me they will not

hesitate to let you know that you've

done a crappy job anyways a lot of

clients will still take your final

deliverable and sit on it for some time

just to plan themselves accordingly

internally this means that depending on

the situation they'll either action

those recommendations

themselves or they'll come back to you

and have you create a business case

for them to sell to internal

stakeholders so they can actually get

started and working on those changes

that you recommended initially overall

if you've done a good job and depending

on your team's capacity and whether they

want to take on more work from this

client you typically want to set it up

so the client is realigned and

interested in keeping you in the loop

with those next steps

all right so depending on your team and

the type of consultant that you are you

probably could have been done

at the recommendation stage so this is

actually something that fenton mentioned

in a previous video when he was

discussing his experience as a strategy

consultant at monitor deloitte once

again if you haven't checked out that

video i highly recommend you check it

out after this one so i guess at this

point assuming that your team's still

involved in the process we're getting

pretty close to wrapping up as we head

into our solution

and our implementation phase of the

project so assuming you did a good job

up until this point and those

recommendations were approved and

there's buy-in internally from that

business case that you presented that

means that we're now ready to kick into

phase two of the project

basically everything before this was

phase one and if they're still on board

they'll sign up for phase two so this

could potentially mean that we create a

new statement of work that sort of

outlines what phase two is gonna cover

this could mean having to expand the

budget potentially bringing on different

professionals

overall we want to make sure that

everyone's in line with the new

objectives of phase two in order to

avoid any sort of issues on either side

so phase two could mean having to do a

bit more of an in-depth analysis before

you kick things off but within phase two

it will then lead to something that we

call implementation as well as

rollout of whatever it is that you're

working on so this could mean new

processes and systems and if you're a

technology implementation consultant

this could mean rolling out a new

technology so one of the big ones at the

big four is obviously the big

erp so your saps your infor your net

suites

basically these are big budget rollouts

and require additional staff or quite a

few people to actually get things going

typically if you're someone who's

involved in implementation or you're

part of an implementation team you're

usually rolling out a lot of change in a

lot of different processes and

potentially systems like we said so one

of the most important things to keep in

mind is the training and making sure

that you're adequately training the

client and the different stakeholders

within the organization so that you're

actually setting them up for success

overall the implementation part will

look different depending on the team or

even depending on the firm but what you

do want is experience in the space or

prior experience with a client

all right now last but not least and

something that's actually often

forgotten you'd be surprised

is the project handoff i know i kind of

just touched on this but it is so

important for you to leave the client

having learned to swim as opposed to

with their life jackets on

obviously once that specific project

ends people are usually assigned to new

projects and kind of move on but at the

same time especially if you're going to

excel in these environments

you need to work on client management

this means that if you're a point of

contact at one point with the client

they're most likely gonna reach out

because nothing's perfect and they're

probably gonna have questions

given the fact that you're most likely

now on a new project what's been

communicated to me is that anything

beyond simple questions

you should be billing for obviously the

goal is to maintain that relationship

but at the same time you have to

remember that it is a business

relationship and therefore once that

contractual arrangement ends you do need

to help the client but at the same time

weigh the options that you have overall

any major questions or any big questions

should have already been covered or

answered in your closing with the client

after all of that is said and done the

final invoicing will go out and the

project is

a wrap we hope that you all enjoyed that

video and that you learned something new

about the consulting

project process as always if you had any

questions or if you want to know more

about any of those specific steps

let us know down below and we can always

dig a little bit deeper if you haven't

checked out some of our previous videos

on consulting

like how to become a consultant the pros

and cons of consulting

so many more like that check them out

next door we'll be back

next week same time and place like den

always says you already know what it is

and we'll see you then have a good week

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