Every step of an independent talent engagement is critical to the success of the project, from hitting the ground running and ready to make an impact to your interactions with teammates and stakeholders to the actual work you do. Though it can be easy to overlook, one of the steps that can leave the longest-lasting impression is how you wrap up the project and leave the client with deliverables and insights that set them up for long-term success.
To help you complete projects in a satisfactory manner for both your clients and yourself, we sought out some best practices from experts in the BTG talent community who have honed their processes through numerous independent engagements. We offer these tips and tricks to help you avoid common project missteps and succeed in your independent consultant endeavors with Business Talent Group.
Read on for some key takeaways on how to wrap up your independent projects on the right foot.
Meet the Experts
Former Apple Data Science Manager and Bain Strategy Consultant with 15+ years of product, strategy, and program leadership across the healthcare and retail sectors
Former Kearney Consultant with 20+ years of experience across strategy, business transformation, and change management across the pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and non-profit sectors
Data analytics and strategy expert with deep experience in digital financial services, blockchain, and machine learning
Clearly Outline Next Steps and Who Owns Them
Arguably the most important part of a project is ensuring that you’ve accomplished the tasks at hand, whether they mirror the original ask or have expanded and adapted over time. Reviewing original contracts, keeping checklists, and having regular conversations with the client are key steps to make sure everything stays on track. Here are some more tips from our experts:
- Produce a handover document detailing the status of all key open activities, where documents are stored, and next steps as a reference guide for the client. Ensure that each outstanding action has an owner going forward and that the owner agrees to the actions you’ve outlined.
- Have a one-on-one conversation with the project owner to make sure that they know how to access all of the key deliverables, what the next steps are, and who will take ownership going forward.
- You may also consider holding a one-on-one with each team member to go over the location of important documents—and perhaps their contents—as well as who the relevant stakeholders are, the remaining actions they need to take, and anything they should focus on or be aware of.
- Consulting is a process of constant feedback, and the most successful projects have frequent touch points between the client and talent where insights are shared and feedback received well in advance of the project wrap-up, so that there are no surprises from the client perspective. The last week, or even the last few weeks, of a project should be spent tweaking decks and making the final presentation or recommendations based on previously provided client feedback and alignment.
Make it Sustainable
Interim executives and independent consultants are asked to join a team for a short amount of time in order to add a lot of value—and ensuring the sustainability of that value is essential. Refer back to the original statement of work to make sure all of the commitments were met, and ensure the team has all of the tools needed in order to capture and sustain the value you have added.
- Solicit client feedback on what amongst your work they expect to continue to leverage, who needs to be trained, what the key risk and mitigation plans are, and what kind of help they anticipate needing in the future.
- Hold an after-action review with key stakeholders to understand what went well and what could have been even better. Focus on nailing down actionable learnings for the client on areas to address next time.
- In your exit interviews, brainstorm with the client on anything else they wished they could have accomplished while you were there. Be diligent about suggesting ideas for the client to explore in the future.
Utilize Digital Resources to Level Up Your Practice
Software plays a pivotal role in neatly wrapping up an independent engagement, from securing your data security to ensuring it remains accessible for the long-term.
- Make sure your work is available for the client within a secure online system, and that it is searchable and easily digestible. Ensure that all project documents are stored properly in the client’s document management system (e.g., SharePoint) in a logical fashion with old versions archived.
- Where possible, show your KPIs in interactive dashboards so that the client can truly appreciate your impact. The interactivity can help empower them to take the ideas forward.
Build Relationships and Focus on Self-improvement
Independent engagements are opportunities for professional experience, but can also provide insights for self-improvement and help you build relationships with like-minded individuals. Remember to keep an eye out for additional project opportunities where either you or BTG could help out!
- Throughout the project, think of what needs the client has or could have in the next six months to one year, both in the immediate as well as adjacent organizations.
- Think of your other competencies that were not leveraged in the project and where they could help in the client organization.
- Ask for feedback on your performance and advice on what you could improve going forward. On BTG projects, our teams stay in regular touch with our client and consultant to ensure expectations are met.
- Don’t forget to ask the client to be a future reference in the form of LinkedIn endorsements, a recommendation letter, or or perhaps for discussions with future prospects.
- Share specific suggestions with the client and your BTG Talent solutions team on how you could help on next steps if needed.
Now comes the fun part: getting paid for all the great work you’ve done! Be sure to submit final invoices as soon as possible to make things easy on your client’s accounting team and receive your payment in a timely manner. When you work on a BTG project, our team will handle all client invoicing, so you simply need to submit your final invoices to the BTG team promptly upon project completion, and we’ll take care of the rest
Find Your Next Project with BTG
The independent talent market is hot and only getting hotter with talent finding great success in both interim and independent consultant roles. Demand is higher than ever among BTG’s clientele of Fortune 100 companies and other leading organizations, with projects popping up in every industry and function.
The best place to start looking for new and exciting projects is the BTG Talent Portal. Sign up or log in to see all available project opportunities, and keep in mind that new opportunities are posted regularly.