Nancy Simonson is a career consultant focused on change management, organizational change, resource management, program and project management. Nancy worked in a variety of roles and on both small and large scale projects throughout her career at Accenture, a leading global professional services company. She focused on hiring and creating high performance teams to position them to achieve their maximum potential. She has extensive experience in relationship management, staffing, employee engagement, and people development. Nancy has recently left Accenture and started her own consulting company, Peridot Consulting. Outside of Accenture, Nancy served as past president of the Women’s Board of Heartland Alliance, a leading anti-poverty organization that focuses on the advancement of human rights and needs. She resides in Chicago and is an avid sports fan and theater enthusiast. One of the biggest challenges any organization faces is who and when to hire. As a small business owner, this decision is even more critical as the expense and time involved in hiring someone new is significant. An important, and often overlooked starting point is to take the time to define the type of person and skill set that would be the most beneficial to your organization. Nancy will talk you through […]
Nick Disabato is a designer and writer from Logan Square in Chicago. He runs Draft, a small interaction design consultancy, and wrote Cadence & Slang, a very small book about his field that has been called “mind-blowing” and “staggering” by people far smarter than him. His second book, Draft Evidence, is a mid-career summary of his writing and recent work. We all know design is important, but are we really capable of measuring its impact? Most design decisions end up speculative until we put them in front of paying customers – and even then, we may not fully understand the effects of our work. How do you design more carefully and deliberately, while ensuring that you’re able to get a solid return on your investment? In this talk, Nick will explain why research and A/B testing are important, how the two practices inform one another, and how to design in a way that reduces risk while creating happier – and more – customers. In this session you will learn: Why it’s hard to assess ROI in a traditional design process Why it’s important to research before you test How to use research to create new test ideas Why research is […]
Opportunity knocks and you have the chance to take on a big client. You meet this with a feeling of excitement (big client!) and terror (big company!). Navigating these waters can be a challenge for the most seasoned consultant. The good news is that there’s a real opportunity here if you spend some time investing in your softer skills. Silver Lake Productions’ experiences over the past 10 years at Johnson & Johnson will give you some tools for when the moment arrives. In this session you will learn: Why you need to believe in what you do. Everyone has their own path to develop confidence. Do believe the thing you are billing for is worth it? Why you need more patience than you think. There are lots of cooks in the kitchen at big companies, each one with their own checklist. Master the checklists and provide additional value to your client. How to sell your project/story to the client. Many times our process starts in the middle of the organization and we never actually pitch to the true economic buyer. You need to create a story to help your client convince the boss. It’s not about technology at all, it’s about […]
Many small business owners struggle with how to delegate. Sometimes it feels like it will take longer to explain a task than it does to do it ourselves, sometimes we’re worried the quality of the work will suffer, or sometimes we just don’t know exactly what we need without digging into the problem. Successful delegation takes work and one of the tools we can use to identify opportunities for successful delegation is a portfolio management tool. In this session, Molly will walk you through a portfolio management tool she used to manage a busy workgroup that varied from 10-15 employees. Seeing how much work there is too do can be intimidating but can also get you “unstuck” and force you to stop being a bottle neck so your team and your business can thrive. In this session you will learn: How to create a snapshot view of your portfolio How to identify opportunities to delegate How to follow-through on delegation and increase your bandwidth Molly, owner of Thorsen Consulting, is a Chicago-based technology consultant. Her background is in management consulting and over the last 15 years she has focused on delivering customized database. As a former partner at Soliant Consulting, she managed a […]
As consultants you serve multiple masters –clients, users, and technology – in service of your business. It’s a delicate balancing act that all too often tips toward the loudest client, the most opinionated user, or the path of least technical resistance. But are these really the requirements that will enable you to create innovative solutions that are widely adopted and deeply embraced? Human-Centered Design is a creative problem solving approach. It is both a mindset and a set of methods. It starts with deep empathy for the people who will interact with your solution and keen observation of their needs and contexts. It positions you to understand choices and behaviors and uncover thoughts, emotions, and motivations. This approach teaches you not just what to build but how to build it in order to make it not just useful and usable, but desirable and delightful. Industry leaders like Apple, Google, and Amazon have shown time and time again that human-centered design leads to solutions with higher adoption, increased productivity, reduced training and support, and optimal return on investment. In this session you will learn: Techniques for better understanding your users and designing from their perspective. Frameworks for unpacking, organizing, and discovering insights to frame and […]
For many skilled consultants selling is not part of their core competency and the thought of promoting and selling their services is distasteful. We have fears of attending uncomfortable networking groups or presenting cheesy powerpoint presentations. But as Adam explains in this session, consultants have the easiest and most organic sales process of all because we offer solutions to real problems. By learning how to talk about the solutions and benefits you provide (as opposed to listing the skills you have), you can build meaningful relationships with existing customers and potential clients. Whether you’re working to keep your plate full as a sole proprietor or trying to fill a pipeline for your team, there will come a point in your career where you need to be proactive about sales. Adam will focus on how relationship building with colleagues, potential clients, and vendors is a key driver for a successful sales process. In this session you will learn: Techniques you can use to build stronger relationships with prospects and clients How to grow opportunities organically within existing clients by leveraging existing relationships Examples of implementing a flexible mindset to ensure long-term customer satisfaction Adam founded FullCity Consulting, Inc. in 2000. Adam was an […]
In order to build and maintain a collaborative spirit between all members of a custom software development project team, we must find ways for everyone to see the entire team as their own “in-group”. First we must create a solid foundation for the project by adopting a project management process that can be clearly articulated. Then we must be sure that everyone on the team is comfortable with the process through clear and consistent communication every step of the way. Finally, we must make sure that the entire team, including the future consumers of the software, has a solid understanding of how the technology works, so we can set reasonable expectations about the final delivered system. With a collaborative foundation in place for projects, project managers can guide the project team through the development process using techniques outlined in this guide to convert blown budgets, scope creep, and missed timelines into common enemies that everyone on the team will look to defeat. When we work together toward shared goals and against shared enemies, project teams collaboratively strive to make software development projects successful for everyone. Looks like you found a page that's for members only.
Consultants by nature have to juggle many tasks. You’re managing client needs, you’re defining specifications, estimating project costs, and providing a skilled service. As a business owner you’re juggling operational, financial, legal and human resources issues. Throw in an entrepreneurial mindset and you may find yourself managing several different services or even different businesses that leverage different skill sets. Effective project management is an important skill in juggling multiple tasks but even more powerful is the ability to switch between tasks in a productive and focused way. In this session, Cris Ippolite, software developer, trainer, and NFL fantasy football analytics writer talks about how he positions himself for success by getting in the right “headspace” for each task. In this session you will learn: How to self-identify ways to focus your attention How to set up an environment optimized for productivity How setting up a disciplined scheduled ultimately leads to more creativity and impact Cris is a software trainer and founder of iSolutions, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm. Cris also speaks regularly at several technology conferences, including the FileMaker Developer Conference. He also provides all FileMaker video training content for lynda.com to tens of thousands of trainees worldwide. Cris is […]
Last week I hosted a webinar to complement Ten Elements of a Software Development Project, a Moose Guide that we published earlier in the year. These ten elements represent the aspects of a development project that you are already dealing with (whether you know it or not), and that you have to deal with regardless of the project management process you use. By learning what makes up a project, you can audit your own processes and figure out where you have room to improve. You can download the slides here. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions. *** This was my first time using the WebinarNinja platform. There were some audio issues about halfway through the webinar. You can still hear the presentation, but the quality of the audio varies. Looks like you found a page that's for members only.