Each week I travel on Monday mornings to my client. As a Deloitte consultant we typically write our contracts with our clients with what we refer to as a 3-4-5 agreement, meaning that we stay at our client site for 3 nights, 4 full working days, and on the 5th day we return to our local office (hence 3-4-5). So the image above is typically how I start my week. I have a 3 hour drive South on I-89 and I-91 to Hartford, CT where my current client is located.
My wife and I recently moved to Montpelier, VT so that she could accept a job at Norwich University as an Assistant Professor in their English department. For me, the move was fairly straightforward as far as work was concerned since we’re on the road so much anyways, I was able to be very flexible with my home address. So fortunately, the drive is an easy one. I find it much less stressful than having to fight the crowds at the airport as many of my colleagues must do each Monday. I use the 3 hour ride to catch up on podcasts – here are a list of a few of my favorites:
- The Moth – Live Stories told without notes
- World Café and World Café Next – David Dye shares new music from the studios of WXPN in Philadelphia
- NPR: Planet Money – great 15 to 20 minutes highlights of economic topics and current events
- TedTalks – a Terrific series of “Ideas Worth Spreading” covering Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED). I learned about this series from fellow MBA student Eric Barker (CGSOM ’09) and if you like TED then you should also follow Eric’s blog – Barking up the Wrong Tree
- This American Life – Ira Glass’s infamous weekly themed story podcast. If you’re not one of the 1.7 million listeners, then you’re missing out!
- WNYC’s Radio Lab – Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich present science-driven topics with some very smart audio editing
So go subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher and enjoy!
But I digress… Today, once I arrived at the client site at around 10 AM, I had to submit my previous week’s expenses and hours so that our project controller can keep up with our invoicing, this takes only a few minutes. I have an integrated role on our project wherein I’m helping to lead a group of analysts to define the business and technical requirements that are consumed by our Scrum delivery teams. In addition to the requirements content, I also play a role in the project and program planning activities, as our client is undergoing a major set of transformation activities to enable them to deliver more effectively to their clients (I’d share more, but it’ confidential). So once Time and expenses are out of the way, I began to work through my prep for the various meetings I have today. Our project is delivering software capabilities using the Agile Scrum methodology (here’s quick video if you’re not familiar). This week we are planning for the next 2-week iteration and we need to determine what functionality our development team and ScrumMaster will be delivering.
The rest of my team arrives between 10 and 11 AM as they are flying in from our offices in Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Toronto. We have a great team of about 10 consultants split evenly between Scrum development delivery and business/system requirements definition. Once the team hit the ground, we typically spend a few minutes just aligning around the key activities for the day and week ahead so we know which direction everyone is running.
For me, I met with the client in the morning to discuss the scope of our workplan and to identify/refine a few items before we report out to the larger program. I also met with a group of client and Deloitte analysts to confirm our schedule to derive a series of requirements and to hone the scope of our solution. In all, it was a day full of meetings to help orchestrate and plan to ensure that the entire project team (over 50 people) are clear on scope, approach and timing – a seemingly simple goal, but in an organization as large as our client, it’s truly a challenge (hence the full complement of Monday meetings).
Finally, I headed to the Marriott Hartford, my home away from home to catch the end of the BC Beanpot game. Life on the road is challenging in a number of different ways and it’s often hard to explain what it really entails. For me, it means staying in a hotel for around 140 nights in a single year and having some serious hotel status!