Things I do when I start a consulting project.
I start with a new folder under 'Projects'.

My files are organized according to Projects, Areas, Resources, and Archives (P.A.R.A) as taught by @fortelabs
The first thing in that folder is usually a google doc with meeting notes taken while scoping out the gig.

The second doc is a google slides document that I use to keep a running timeline of the project. It basically tells the story of what happens, as it happens.
I'm often working on multiple projects, so that slide deck is critical for helping me re-remember where we are and where we've been. Basically, I choose to optimize for "re-loading" the context instead of trying to remember it all.

Basically it's my narrative prosthetic.
P.A.R.A. helps me keep everything organized, but I still sometimes need help finding the right thing at the right time. And sometimes important resources live outside my google drive (e.g., a miro board). So links to those things get added to the slide deck, as they come up.
Next I need to get immersed in the details. I want to understand the context I'm entering as best I can. So that's a new Miro board, with every document, link, etc. all laid out so I can sort through it.
(wife calling, hang tight, will describe some important things about the Miro board shortly)
Okay, and we're back. (Liana and I have been married for 10 years today, so you BET YOUR ASS I'm taking that call.)
So something really useful for sense-making in miro is webpage screenshots. Miro actually has a tool for it in their extended menu (I think it's called "web page capture"). Sometimes it doesn't work, so I also use a browser plugin that will capture a full page.
Web page screenshots are useful for things like examining client sites, competitors, industry blogs, etc.

BUT it's also useful for grabbing screenshots of LinkedIn profiles. I want to know everything I can about all the main players, so that I know how to best serve them.
Sometimes there will be patterns. Like people going to a particular college, or an interesting background / career change. These all inform my mental models of the people involved, and that helps me show up on the right foot on day 1.
When I'm catching up on a (new-to-me) industry, usually I'll grab a bunch of blog posts and wikipedia articles that seem representative. I'll skim them for patterns, ontologies, etc. that help me see how it "works."
In miro, I'll turn interesting words and phrases into stickies next to the screenshot of the article. Then I can sort and group them later. Some of those will end up in a Wardley Map or two of the basic ideas in play.
Once I've made enough sense of the client context, I'll boil down the most useful parts into take-aways for the slide deck. This placeholds my sensemaking work so I can re-remember important conclusions or beliefs later on when I'm skimming that deck to pick the context back up.
Again, the slide deck becomes the keeper of the project narrative. Anytime a new deliverable draft, set of meeting notes, or client artifact enters the scene, it gets added to my folder and then referenced with a link in the slide deck.
Another thing I'll do is start the first draft for any deliverables right away. I'll even just put a placeholder headline in place, turn those into headings, and then add a table of contents. That way I can work on it throughout the whole project instead of waiting until the end.
Whenever I take meeting notes, I process those notes afterward in order to find notable highlights for the slide deck. If there's relevant content, I may also copy them into the deliverable draft for later editing.
Basically, I try to make having to start from a blank page nigh impossible. And since I'm drafting the deliverable bit-by-bit as the project unfolds, there's very little heavy lifting to be done towards the end. It's just a cleanup and organization problem.
There are some other things I do which are helpful... One is creating a Burja Map of all the key players so I can stay actively aware of relationships, alliances, and personal dispositions.…
On a weekly basis, I'll refresh my ideal present for the project. Just to make sure I'm being intentional about the work. (I hate hate hate when a project turns into a slow motion trainwreck, so I want to do everything I can to catch any problems early.)
There are other little things, such as setting up a new project in my time tracker, but I think I've covered the big ones for starting a new consulting gig.

Hope you found this useful! 👍

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with ben mosior (18 / 100 livestreams, 9 / 100 riffs)

ben mosior (18 / 100 livestreams, 9 / 100 riffs) Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @HiredThought

29 May
taylorism was good, actually
Before: Gang work where the lowest performing member set the bar for everyone. If you learned to do better, you still got paid the same. Unfair.

After: Individualized teaching and daily performance feedback FOR HIGHER PAY.
HR fucked it all up.

They basically reverted back to gang work, stopped individualized training, but kept the individualized performance management. AND they changed the eval cycle from daily to annual.
Read 6 tweets
17 Dec 20
#WardleyMaps are lovely fun, but they can be hard to learn at first! X and Y are standing by a Wardley Map. X gestures and says,
So when you're just getting started, there is something you ought to consider... Y responds, "It can be hard at first, but there is an e
Instead of trying to map right away (which can be a lot to learn all at once), make lists instead! Y continues, "If you're new, forget the maps. Make list
Read 5 tweets
24 Nov 20
Reading a book called "Corporate Amnesia" by Kransdorff.

"Organizations, it seems, forget faster than they can remember."
'Motivated' amnesia is usually associated with negative or embarrassing experiences being deliberately forgotten, distorted, or 'wishfully' remembered.
I imagine anxiety fits well under this bucket, as a form of deliberate forgetting / avoidance of remembering.
Read 6 tweets
18 Aug 20
my daily walk is where I design my workshops
I usually write out what I'm trying to accomplish before leaving, which lets me meander while still "knowing" what I want to end with
most of the time something hits by about the halfway point (17m in), which I note down using speech-to-text in Google Docs
Read 6 tweets
12 Jul 20
This thread might help you with #WardleyMaps.
To create common ground, create explicit conflict.
Start with a list.
Read 8 tweets
22 May 20
A minimal mapping process and common places people get stuck.
1. Choose a context to map
a. How do I choose what to map?
b. How big or small should it be?
2. List the parts of the context
a. How should I divide the system into parts?
b. How detailed should I get?
c. What should I name the parts?
3. Categorize each part into evolutionary stages
a. How do I decide which stage a part is in?
b. What do I do if a part fits in multiple stages?
4. Draw a Minimum Viable Wardley Map
a. Does vertical positioning mean anything?
Read 4 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!