Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Review Cycles

I figure, a huge proportion of time spent working late nights on consulting jobs is all down to review cycles. I am at a client site right now, and the junior consultant on the project has just waited from 7pm to midnight for the engagement manager to come back with comments so she can progress the work. Don’t get me wrong, the engagement manager isn’t skiving off – she is really busy herself, but just didn’t have time to get to it. As a result, the poor junior has been stuffing around for hours. I tried to help, but couldn’t sufficiently get into my manager’s head. 

When I get to the point of managing projects, I don’t want to leave my juniors hanging – I know how frustrating it is. My hypothesis (well, one I have read about)  for why it occurs is the crest of ignorance. Essentially, juniors don’t know enough, and work can only be progressed by people with knowledge. Given the typical structure  of a project team, with an inevitable green consultant or two, there doesn’t seem to be a way around this.

Has anyone else come across this problem?


  1. Government expert, you should have played the job manager job role and give your junior some direction ...

    Other than that -- i think it is a case of setting expectation. The junior should have asked for regular (but brief) face time with the senior at regular interval -- perhaps 5 min catch up daily to ensure she is on the right track.

  2. Anonymous is spot on here. Sometimes there will be spontaneous bottlenecks, but it shouldn't be a regular occurrence.

    When viewed through not just that day but the prior days/weeks, it really comes down to managers clearly setting expectations and properly planning their (and the team's) workflow.