The key asset of a-connect is our pool of unique Independent Professionals (IPs), who bring expertise across industries and functions and deliver projects all over the globe. However, a-connect does not only consist of IPs. We also have a group of a-connect internal consultants. I am one of the a-connect Project Managers, named Ines. I am Portuguese and studied Pharmaceutical Sciences. Before I joined a-connect, I worked in Quality Management and Project Management at two different pharmaceutical companies. In February 2019, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and joined a-connect.
As a Project Manager with no prior consulting experience, most of my time is spent building my consulting toolkit, by working on client projects together with an a-connect Client Service Partner, the client team, and often with one or more IPs. I also perform many different tasks, e.g. supporting internal a-connect initiatives; helping a Client Service Partner and Talent Service Partner to find the right IP profiles for a certain client need; writing proposals; doing research about any variety of topics; providing some punctual leverage to our generally more senior IPs; writing for the IP newsletter!
That being said, and despite no standard project or typical day, this is my attempt to describe a day in the life of a Project Manager at a-connect – a day in my life before COVID-19, while working on my last project, which was to optimize the Target Operating Model of a leading pharma company. On this project I was working with two IPs and one a-connect Project Manager. The most senior IP was responsible for the overall project management and alignment of all six project workstreams, and the rest of the team was supporting different workstreams as Agile Scrum Masters and Product Managers of different client teams achieving their deliverables.
A day working with my clients
I rush to the Zurich main station, and I take the next train to Basel. If I go alone, I will start reading emails, working on deliverables, or preparing other tasks of the day. If I am going with an a-connect colleague, I will use the time to debate some project ideas with Cosmina or even learn Python with Pablo. After having arrived from Zurich in Basel, depending on the stage of the project, my morning is spent by one or a combination of the following tasks: aligning with the a-connect team on project status, interdependencies, and how can we support each other; problem-solving with the team; doing client interviews to assess the current situation; meeting the workstream teams to design the future process workflows; preparing PowerPoint presentations; writing Standard Operating Procedures; speaking with IT to understand the technical feasibility of what we are proposing; managing stakeholders and trying to solve project impediments.
The afternoon can run either pretty similarly to the morning, e.g. working with client team members to problem solve, or having meetings with our Brazilian and US team members. Sometimes there is a workshop I help to design or facilitate, or a leadership meeting to attend.
Around 18:00 on my way back to Zurich, I use the time to work, create my to-do list for the following day, and catch up with colleagues if they happen to be on the same train. I may enjoy having dinner with friends or an after-work drink, especially in the middle of the week, to relax and be more energized to keep up with the rest of the week.
If you are an IP, maybe your day is not so different from mine, and now that you know that a-connect also has internal consultants, please feel free to leverage us, if you need, by contacting the Client Service Partner with whom you work. Eventually we will work together on a project!