Ever Planned?

How much planning goes into your projects? Do you even get to be part of the planning process? As an independent, you and I normally arrive once the project basics have been set and the work begins. You can’t even imagine the fun that your missing.!

First of all, the client has rose colored glasses on! What fun! They use statements like “We know we need new process…”, and “It will be fun to work with you.” They see every problem with a delivered solution and every obstacle as something that has surely been solved before at many other companies.
But, they also see you accomplishing the work in half the time you tell them it will take. Or is that at half the cost?

Either way, planning is were all your consulting soft skills will come into play. You must show your an expert at every opportunity, but you have to be subtle so that you don’t appear cocky.

Lead!! Don’t be shy or underestimate your power to drive change. You are setting the tone with your client for the whole project. There are difficult times ahead, you know it well, so set the expectation now that your not afraid to face any challenge and you expect them to follow you into the fire.

What’s your biggest complaint when you show up in Design? Are you understaffed? Is the timing all wrong? How about the way the clients expectations are all way out of wack. Planning is when the client is actually purchasing the dream we will later crumble. Imagine teaming with them early on and helping them spend their money well.

Consulting is not just about being the out of town expert! It’s about being a trusted advisor to clients who don’t understand where their going. Your a co-leader. You are the voice of experience that voices an opinion at just the right time and then quietly falls back into the group.

What’s Next?

Ever find yourself in a lull? Perhaps a slow part in the project or just that dead space between clients. How do you spend your time?
This is where a little kicking-back is certainly deserved and no one would ever fault you for doing it. But the truth is, if you come to an unplanned day, your wasting your time.
I’m no efficiency expert. I keep lists I can never find when I need them. The plan is always to jump to my lists during lulls to work on life, education, and my business. This fills in the slack with productive time. But, if I’m not finding my lists my time is being wasted.
Anyway, the concept is to convert as many ‘to-dos’ into ‘to-dones’ as possible.


What’s Luck got to do with it!  That’s more than just a song title.  For years, I’ve believed the old adage that luck is the intersection of opportunity and preparedness.  Things happen when your ready for them to happen.  Today an article came through LinkedIn that echoes that thought and everyone should read it.


Don’t ever wait for things to come your way.  Prepare in advance, so that when they come, you’re not scrambling.

All the world astounds me, but I think I understand.

Needed in Atlanta

1)      ERP Functional Project Manager – need 5+ yrs 9.x Financials implementation experience
2)      BI/AR Functional Lead
3)      Cash Management/AP Functional Lead
4)      Projects/Contracts Functional Lead
5)      GL/AM Functional Lead

How Can Independents Work Together??

Really!!!  Isn’t that an oxymoron?  We each have tasks to do and we’re the best there is!  In fact, I’ve worked in enough modules that I can tell you how to do your module too! (Not true, added for emphasis.)  But we do know quite a bit about the PeopleSoft world and we’ve done enough projects to know what works and what doesn’t.  The problem is, everyone of us is right; which means, there are thousands of ways to do a project.

I love the relationship model that tells us that every time groups of people get together, we have a process to go through before collective work will happen.

Step 1 – Forming.  We will each be individuals adding individual effort, but slowing down the process, because we are doing it individually.  Sure we now know each other, but there’s no order, just titles.  “And I don’t like the way he smiles.”  “Why won’t anyone listen and act on what I’m saying?”  “I heard a rumor that such and such really hit a home run at XYZ last year.”  We all are wearing our best behavior, smiling and nodding at everything said.

Step 2 – Storming.  Now we’re getting somewhere! This is where all hell breaks loose (quietly, of course). The project manager enforces his style, the client can’t stand the person they have to work with, heads and styles collide, emails fly back an forth as we try to move forward.  Lot’s of grumpy talk and short tempers.  And we are all wearing our best smiles, trying to move forward.

Step 3 – Norming.  Nirvana! Nope, everything isn’t perfect, but we know how to work with each other.  We can pass ideas to those who listen, we know who to avoid when they’re busy.  We interact on a professional and personal level.  We may not like each other, but we know how to work together.

All project teams go through this same interaction every time members are added into the mix.  The secret is to understand where you are in the process and work to the next phase.  As independents we have a unique experience to share with each other.  We’ve worked with more people in more varied environments than most corporate consultants.  We should know people interaction best and should be more adept at moving in and out of groups than anyone else.  Projects benefit from our ability to help random individuals perform together as a team.  Let’s help them reach their goals.

But you have to have a world you can live in
Not a world where all the hope is gone
And as long as we are here together
We must build a home for the free