At Perficient you are surrounded by supportive colleagues, but your first billable project as a new hire can still feel daunting. These are just a few essential tips and tricks learned from my first project experience and things to expect transitioning to a career as a consultant.
Tip #1: Confidence is Key
One of the best things I learned during my first project is that confidence is key. Your first project and client may be something you are not an expert at. Use the onboarding process to learn and familiarize yourself with the project and tools used. Leverage your colleagues to provide feedback and advice to build your confidence. It is better to make mistakes and learn from colleagues than in front of the client.
Tip #2: Be Opportunistic
Whether you are a business analyst, business/technical consultant, or a developer, seek to learn as much as you can during the first months you are assigned to a client. The best advice I have been given is to “act like a sponge” taking in all information you can. Whether that be directly related to your role, the project, or new tools and skills.
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Understanding the project on a higher level provides more opportunities to learn and helps you understand the impact of your role on the project. For example, if the project relies on Azure DevOps for tracking, ask the lead business analyst or project manager how and why these are done in a certain way. Not only does this help you effectively use the tool but will also help you in future projects and roles.
Tip #3: Get Involved
The best way to learn as much as possible early on is to ask for ways and seek to be involved. Join and shadow meetings related to your role and take notes. Seek opportunities to lead meetings with confidence. A client may ask you are question that you do not know the answer to – that is okay. Check with one of your team members or answer the question to the best of your ability. Even if you are unsure, it is more about the thought process and learning that comes from taking a challenging question. I found one of the best ways to learn and take on challenging questions is to think about how you would answer it, then run it by a colleague. You will find your thoughts and ideas are accurate and your team will provide you with feedback.
Outside of project work, make yourself visible and network internally. There are numerous ways to make yourself visible. Join a forum, Teams channel, or other Perficient programs – like the Buddy Program which pairs you with a new colleague during their first few months of employment. Networking internally can be as simple as keeping in touch with past project team members through informal conversation or meeting face to face in the office.
Tip #4: Ask Questions
Just like school, do not be afraid to ask questions – there are no dumb questions. Your colleagues and project team are supportive and willing to teach you. Questions can be as simple as “how do I access a project resource in Teams” to more complex client specific questions that you are unsure about.
Tip #5: Track Your Accomplishments
Create a Word document of shoutouts, emails from colleagues, or Teams mentions that celebrate what you and your team have accomplished. As consultants, we work hard on a variety of projects and career growth opportunities so it is important to keep track of these as a reminder of all the great things you do. Reflecting on your accomplishments helps to boost your confidence, be opportunistic seek involvement, and not be afraid to ask questions.