Starting a new McKinsey, BCG, or Bain project is always a challenging endeavor and the first week or two will likely be a bit chaotic until your team settles in, you have familiarized yourself with the project, and the clients know you are around. There are several things you can do to ease this process and set yourself up for a successful project.
To-Dos when starting a new consulting project
- Read the proposal documents to better understand the goals and scope of the project. Discuss with your manager and the team as a whole to clarify and get to a common alignment. Understand the context and boundary conditions of the engagement
- Collect information on the client via internal sources (e.g., speak to teams that worked with the client on previous projects, get internal documents on the client, discuss with leadership since they own the relationship and know most about it) as well as external sources (Google, company reports, research reports). Additionally, set up news alerts for the client and the industry
- Discuss learning goals with the team, especially your project manager and leadership, and set-up in advance bi-weekly feedback sessions. This is most important to help you grow quickly
- Understand your team and define the working relationship with your team members. This includes a discussion on personality types, strengths, and weaknesses as well as work habits and lifestyle needs. Agree on certain team norms (e.g., daily check-ins and check-outs, work from the hotel, dinner time, sport, etc.). Setup collaborative tools such as online shared workspaces
- Get the final document of your project manager’s and/or partner’s last project to understand their preferred way of communicating with the client (slide design, messaging, storyline, argumentation, formal criteria, etc.)
- Get or draft an organizational map of the client organization. Identify key client stakeholders your team needs to interact with and collect contact details and useful background information
- Setup initial meetings with clients you will manage to introduce yourself and the project. It is important to start off on a personal note instead of diving right into the specifics of the study
- Start to collect data from the client early on as experience teaches that this can be a lengthy and iterative process, often a bottleneck to progress with analysis. Document what you have collected to keep the overview
Doing this step by step will make sure your project is off to a good start and set-up for success.
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