’Sit down. Relax. It’s done… ‘
Two minutes ago we finished our last assignment for the Young Professional Academy. For the assignment we had three weeks to go through a full-on project simulation, with senior colleagues as pretend ‘customers’, and our team as the consulting party.
Were we successful? Well, define success. If success means this simulation would fly in real life outside of the Academy, then no, we did not succeed at all. If by success you mean did we learn a lot and did we went through enough experiences to realise what is waiting for us on the other side of the door? Then I’d say, yes!
The most important lesson (all Young Professionals) took away from it was ‘This is not high school anymore’.
Our main goal during the assignment was ‘get everything done within the time frame that we have’, even though being able to was highly unlikely in the first place. Exactly like what we were all used to at school or previous jobs; you got an assignment, and you got it done before the deadline. Otherwise you failed.
But, as a consultant, that is not how reality works. You need to develop a sixth sense for how much high quality you can deliver within the given time frame.
No customer is happy with a product that is barely hanging together, even though it’s functional and checks all the requirements asked. Better to deliver one full-fledged, high quality product within three weeks, and realise before you start that you were never able to deliver the other three within the time frame. Otherwise (and that was the case for all of us) you deliver four products that are all 70% finished. And no customer is going to like that!
If anything, I think that was the most important lesson of the final assignment. Clearly, even though the Academy is now finished for us, it has become clear there is still much to learn! But, as they say, you learn the most ‘in the field’, and that’s where we are all heading.
I would like to thank Informed Consulting for this amazing opportunity and for their investment (because that’s what it is, make no mistake about that) in all of us, and I hope we can repay their efforts soon.
Thijs van Tienen, Young Professional at Informed Consulting.