However, it can be difficult to envisage what a typical day for a consultant looks like and I was keen to provide some insight to others who may be considering this career path. So, here’s a typically untypical day for me working on a public sector client during the current Covid-19 crisis.
I like to log onto my laptop early to check emails and work on any internal projects whilst I eat breakfast. A positive result from the Covid-19 crisis is that there is no commute (goodbye Northern Line!) and I’m able to spend more time working on projects I’m passionate about.
I am an editor for our weekly newsletter, the Graduate Bulletin, and will typically spend some time each week with my ‘investigative journalist’ hat on collating stories from Graduates across Invent. We run regular features, in which we ask fellow Associate Consultant’s to share their insights on the best ways to work from home, creative ways to work remotely with clients and project insights!
It’s time to chair the daily stand-up with my project team, which has now moved to Microsoft Teams. This is time set aside to provide updates and work through our Kanban board. These stand-ups are a great way to set the agenda for the day and working out any dependencies within a growing team.
We are currently working on an Operating Model design and transformation piece for a government department, and I’ve been on the project for just over 3 months now. Whilst the crisis has affected the face-to-face interaction we enjoy with our clients, I’m proud of the team for the momentum we’ve maintained whilst working from home.
A quick coffee, and we’re straight into a strategic session with my team, as we look to develop and refine the design we’ve been working on. We typically block out two hours to explore the detail of our designs and challenge one another’s thinking. I find this time to be both productive and challenging. I’m lucky that this project pushes me to innovate, with colleagues who are supportive and do the same.
Today we discussed organisational design, specifically the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder group. It’s important to get into the client’s shoes and imagine what their ‘day in the life’ would look like.
Just before lunch, I jump onto a call with my Graduate cohort. We tend to have a call once a week to check in with our Performance Development Manager (PDM) and the rest of the Accelerators. There are 15 of us who joined in October 2019, and we speak regularly. The session tends to consist of any business or pastoral updates from our PDM, such as the new measures to keep us safe and healthy during Covid-19, as well as a ‘Round Robin’ to see what the rest of the group are up to.
Lunchtime! I usually take some time to grab some lunch and go on a walk. Whilst my working days are naturally longer working from home, as I’m sure many others find, some time away from my laptop is important. It’s also when I have time to think and mentally collate my to-do list for the rest of the afternoon.
When I get back, I find that I’ve been introduced to a new joiner within our Justice and Security space. I work on connecting people within this sector team together, so it’s my role to welcome her and add her to our monthly calls, virtual socials, and group chats. I think it’s a really important in the current context, and is great to have structured touch points in order to check in with the teams.
Straight into client calls. Today we’re presenting to our project sponsor, an advocate of the project from the client’s side who promotes the aims/objectives and helps to alleviate any barriers we may be experiencing. Another Associate Consultant and I provide an update on current activities and talk through our presentation. It’s great to get this exposure when presenting to senior clients, pushing us to learn by doing.
Time for some ‘deep work’, which is focused time spent working on one element of the strategy. My degree was in Psychology, and it’s commonly understood that we are not as good at multi-tasking as we think! It’s important when working on cognitively demanding tasks that you have quiet and avoid distractions. I’ve been actively blocking out time in my calendar for this as I think it helps me to concentrate.
This week we’ve been working on documenting our work through process mapping, a technique that helps to map the flow of activities along with their associated decision points. Our work includes multiple stakeholder groups so we must be clear on the activities required and their requirements. We represent concepts through diagrams, which helps us to visualise the details of the process and figure out the unintended consequences and incentives of organising the department in different ways.
Time for a client workshop with one of our working groups, where we’re usability testing some of our processes, helping us to understand how well users interact with it to improve the overall experience.
It’s true to say I was nervous when the Covid-19 crisis displaced the team and we were all asked to work from home, but I think we’ve had great engagement sessions so far – albeit they’ve taken slightly more planning! The situation has taught me the importance of having short and sharp sessions, setting expectations from the outset, keeping the group active and engaged throughout.
It’s almost the end of the day and I’ve got one last call left to support the organisation of a virtual away day for our workstream and client sponsors. Whilst moving to remote ways of working, the project team remain keen to review progress and reflect on any learnings in H1. It’s a great chance for me to draw upon my master’s degree in Organisational Psychology and consider how to use those insights to facilitate team development sessions. I love the variety of my job and planning events like this really feeds that.
No day is the same at Capgemini Invent, but I hope this has given you a taster of life on the (virtual) ground.
Associate Consultant, Capgemini Invent
Isobel joined Capgemini Invent in October 2019 and is part of the Future of HR practice within the People and Organisation capability.