10 Tips/Things Every Crew212 Member Should Know About Their First 6 Months at the Client
We all know it can be nerve racking walking into your first day at the client as a Crew212 consultant. Regardless the role you are entering into, there are many things to be aware of when preparing for your first engagement. Below I have outlined a list of things I learned from my first experience as a Project Coordinator/Jr. Project Manager. Although they are in no particular order, these are things I felt necessary to be aware of in order to make a good first impression within your first 6 months. If these don’t help, then let’s face it, you are hopeless. Enjoy!
1. Utilize your Keyot mentor(s) as much as you can.
There have been many times I was in need of advice from someone outside of the client. Someone I could ask tough questions to prior to making a decision, or, in need of advice on how to approach an issue with a team member/manager. Having a Keyot Delivery Manager a phone call away gives you a third party outside of your client to approach in stressful situations, so use them. That is what they are there for. If you are not in need of immediate advice but still have questions, not to worry, the bi-weekly one on ones are great opportunity to have a chat.
2. Make as many mistakes as possible.
Within the first 6 months, the reality is, you are going to make many mistakes. As a Crew212 consultant, your client understands that this may be your first rodeo. I was surprised to find that my manager wanted me to make as many mistakes as I possibly could, but not intentionally of course. Your client wants you to learn their process/processes as fast as you can, that being said, mistakes are encouraged. This gives you an opportunity to showcase your ability to learn and adapt. Ultimately, what they don’t want is for you to make the same mistakes over and over again.
3. Approach your team members at their desk, they won’t bite!
One thing I learned very quickly as a Project Coordinator, in terms of communication, is that my emails did not get me very far. This is because I hadn’t built a relationship with my team members yet. Once they received an email from me they probably thought, “Who is this David Wells, Project Coordinator guy asking me to attend this meeting?” When you find out who your team members/resources are, I highly suggest walking to their desk and introducing yourself. This puts a face to a name and ultimately builds a relationship that could become very valuable, even after the project or task at hand is complete.
4. Don’t wait to be told what to do.
Taking initiative is huge. As a millennial, we are already given the perception that we are lazy, prove them wrong! If you find yourself having a slow day and your manager is busy, find a team member to help out. The unspoken saying, “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” definitely applies. You will come to find that if you are willing to sacrifice even just ten minutes, this goes a LONG way. Become that person that is always to willing help and you will always have support from your team. If you are having trouble understanding what next steps are don’t be afraid to simply ask, “What are the next steps?” That forwarding thinking mentality doesn’t go unnoticed either.
5. Make friends with other Crew212/Keyot consultants.
Chances are you are not the only Keyot member at your place of work. Keyot does a great job of saturating their consultants in many different areas of their clients, and for good reason. Many times in Project Management, you will be working cross-functionally. As a Project Coordinator I was operating under the Project Management Office (PMO) but working on an initiative with the Security team. As luck would have it, I was already familiar with a few of my team members because of previous relationships I had made with Keyot members prior to the project starting. Having a couple familiar faces on the team made it much easier to approach roadblocks.
6. Be sure to ask plenty of questions.
As the infamous Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” The same rule applies at your client in regards to questions. You won’t get the answers to questions you have if you don’t ask. Sure, making mistakes are encouraged, but if you can avoid them by thoroughly understanding what is expected of you and your team by asking a lot of questions up front, do it! Try to ask questions your future self might have. Don’t be afraid, chances are your team/manager wants you to be just as successful as you want to be.
7. Become proficient with the tools your client uses, they will be impressed.
No matter the client, there is always an application or tool used for managing the work you are doing. In some cases you may have never heard of or used some of the tools in practice. For me, I had never used Microsoft Project before or understood its true capabilities. In all honesty, an exercise I did was put together a project plan on how to pump gas. Sounds kind of ridiculous, right? But it worked in teaching me how to organize tasks and baseline dates without affecting any “real” deliverables. Or, if you are an expert user, say, in Excel, showcase your abilities by adding a little flavor to your spreadsheets and deliverables. You may become that individual people go to for questions or be presented with an opportunity where you can show your manager a thing or two.
8. Make time for the Stay the Course
A big reason why companies are attracted to Keyot is because of the continuous training their consultants are subject to. These trainings are generally offered once a month at the Keyot office and are, trust me, worth your time. I have attended trainings on topics such as problem solving, how to influence others, Agile Scrum Certification, and my favorite Emotional Intelligence among many others. These trainings are catered to all Keyot consultants, not just Crew212 members. The more things you can add to you LinkedIn profile or resume the better!
9. Build your network.
“Your network,” is an accumulation of valuable contacts you have made in your career. This is where the saying it’s not what you know, but who you know becomes important. Chances are you won’t be spending the rest of your career at your first client. That being said, who you meet and who you build a strong relationship with at work could land you a solid reference or influence where you go next in life. Networking doesn’t always have to take place at work but at opportunities like the Stay the Course trainings. Keyot does a great job of presenting different opportunities to you to help build a strong list of contacts so take advantage of them.
10. Look sharp every day.
Believe it or not, perception means a lot. People naturally perceive a well-dressed individual as being good at their job. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to most of us, but it’s true! Regardless of dress code, try to dress as a little nicer than what is required. It is the small things that go a long way. Let’s face it, it’s is time to throw out that one dress shirt you have to interview in and build yourself a solid wardrobe to choose from.
Now that you have learned everything you need to know when entering into your first client, get plenty of sleep and stay opened minded. We all know those hours spent on Glassdoor reading posts of disgruntled ex-employees have you worried. Stay optimistic because having a certain level of expectations may hinder what the client is really like. Good luck!