All of your success has led up to this moment: your first day as a consultant on your first contract. Though this can be a stressful time, if you’ve followed the steps in this guide, all of your careful planning will help you make these first few days go smoothly.
Get comfortable in your new role
It sounds obvious, but I can’t stress enough the importance of arriving early on your first day. There’s no excuse for being late, and getting off on the right foot will go a long way toward eliminating your stress during the first week. Also be sure to head out the door with the correct address and the name of your contact person on site, and keep your agent’s phone number handy just in case you need it. It can take several days to procure access cards, login information, and full system access so be prepared to work around these obstacles as you start.
On your first day it’s a good idea to seek out your team members and introduce yourself, as they may not know who you are. Try to remember as many names as you can. Also make sure to identify the person who will include you in all scheduled team meetings, as he or she may not know you’ve joined the team. In general, your first task will be reading through documentation to familiarize yourself with the project. You’ll probably be presented with a lot of information when you arrive; you’ll also want to request any high-level information you can get your hands on such as architecture documents, design documents, etc.
Even if they’re not directly related to tasks you’ll be responsible for, it’s very useful to develop a 360-degree project-wide view early on. Developing a clear understanding of the project scope will make you more valuable to the team and the organization. You’ll want to spend your first weeks accumulating as much project knowledge as possible.
Know your project team
As soon as you arrive on-site, you’ll want to immediately begin to learn “who is who” on your project team. As there are many different kinds of projects, project team formats and systems vary widely across regions, cultures, and industries—you’ll want to learn as much as you can about your environment early on. This will help you understand what’s expected of you and prepare for whatever issues come up on the team during tasks and meetings later on.
On a high level, project teams are often grouped into the following functional areas:
■ O2C Team Order to Cash
■ P2P Team Procure to Pay
■ R2R Team Record to Report
■ PMO Team Project Management
■ Development Team
■ DBA Team
It’s also useful to classify your team members into the following three groups:
1. Permanent Employees
2. Organizational Consulting Staff (“Big Four” or other large consulting groups)
3. Independent Consultants
These groups are not formally identified, but they’re good to recognize. This will help you identify the like-minded individuals on your team, regardless of the specific tasks they perform on a project. Members of these groups often tend to think and behave in the same way, which will be very useful for you to observe and keep in mind as you progress in your career as an Oracle consultant.
Know your project team
You may notice during meetings that people in the same group will consistently back each other up. You’ll also likely find that positions on a project team are frequently divided between permanent staffers, consultants with large firms, and independent contractors. While in theory this structure distributes people with varying knowledge across the project team, in practice it can result in differences of opinion between members of the three groups.
Early on in your consulting career it will help you to be aware of this dynamic and you may want to steer clear of participating in discussions between rival groups. Later on as you gain experience and confidence, you may decide to get more involved. This chart displays the organization of a large Oracle e-Business project. It shows the relationship between the team members, and the reporting lines typical to an Oracle e-Business project.