New Client – New Location – New Opportunity!
Congratulations, your about to get another client off the ground. First day is on the calendar and the flight, hotel, and car are booked. Time to line up the butterflies. This time you’ll do an even better job than the last client.
How do you plan the first week? What comes first when everything needs to be done? How do you make an impression and get past the jitters?
Try getting to what you do best as quickly as possible, knowing that the first week is more about connecting and meeting than it is about performing actual work. Plan your first week deliverable before you arrive. Is it something you can do totally in advance and keep in your pocket? On implementations, I like to use glossaries as my deliverable. On upgrades, commonly used query tables are helpful to the client. It’s not so much about doing something on the project plan, as it is about giving back to the client as quickly as possible.
Day 1 – Access is needed. Work on your connection to the network as quickly as possible. Always ask for more access than is needed, so that later on you don’t have to ask again. Think beyond PIA to database access. Will you use SQL+ or Toad? What about when you want to move files around? DMS, FTP or other third-party tools that push/pull/relocate files. Do you need AppDesigner, nVision, SQR access. Are you using MS Access, VB, or SharePoint. How many different ways are you going to connect to the client? What about access from home? This stuff all slows down our ability to deliver and frankly, in the first week you want to deliver something that makes the client smile.
Another standard Day 1 activity is meeting everyone. You’ll be introduced to so many people that you’ll never remember them all. And you certainly can’t shake hands and take notes at the same time. Keep focused during you greetings so that you can make special connections to those you know you’ll deal with the most. I like to set up a formal meeting for knowledge transfer from client to consultant in the first week if I can swing it. This meeting always gives you a chance to understand the clients point of the project before all the work begins and problems crop up. It also helps to get the relationships off the ground and growing.
When we leave at the end of that first week, the tone has been set and you’ll be working uphill or gliding based on your performance and personality. Good luck – show them why your the consultant and they are the client.
Between the eyes and ears there lay,
The sounds of color and the light of a sigh.