When I first joined the CDC two months ago, just like most of my fellow new joiners I did not really know what to expect, what I would be doing or how I would be doing it. As explained in Jack and Ben’s excellent blog, we had a two week induction which was an incredibly informative experience; nevertheless, when I landed my first role in the Solutions team of a project in the public sector, the clouds thickened rather than cleared.
So what does a member of the Solutions team actually do? I liaise between the Business and Technical Delivery teams to ensure that solution requirements and design specifications are met within scope and within delivery timelines. Unsurprisingly, my role has evolved and I am a lot more involved in end-to-end delivery than I first anticipated. In short, I speak to key stakeholders on a daily basis to ensure that they are happy with the progress of the solution. I also have regular check-ins with my Delivery Project Manager to track solution updates, discuss any design issues and monitor solution timescales.
To give you an overview of what my day-to-day role involves, one of my key tasks so far has been to organise and facilitate conference calls between the Business and Technical Delivery teams to discuss, and (hopefully) resolve, any issues arising around the inner-workings of the solution. When facilitating these meetings, preparing an agenda beforehand is key as well as moving the dialogue along to ensure all key points are examined.
Another interesting component of my role is helping to run ‘Hub’ calls, which consists of reviewing the status of delivery within Business streams and specific programmes areas. During each call, an Action Log and a Status Tracker are reviewed to ensure that key actions and next steps are assigned to the relevant people. I have found this to be a very effective tool to manage meetings, assign clear responsibilities and create accountability. It also ensures the overall solution is progressing within its scope and timescales.
I realised very quickly how valuable it is to build a relationship with stakeholders. I would much rather resolve an issue with a stakeholder on a one-to-one call than on a Hub or conference call. If not, the knock-on effect can be substantial - others will want to share their opinion and it can become even more complicated than these technical initiatives already are. I also learned that a stakeholder who values and trusts your work tends to be more open and honest with you, which can significantly help resolve problems in their early stages. I have already encountered some challenges which, without a healthy stakeholder relationship, could have been very tricky to resolve - something that I underestimated before starting in this role.
During induction we were told that learning on the project is a huge part of becoming a successful CDCer. Our induction hosts, Rich and Cathy, were right. Yes, the learning curve is steep and the challenges are diverse, but this gives you a great opportunity to develop some key consulting skills, to stretch yourself within your role and to deliver real value to your team and client.