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A day in the life of a consultant

5th February 2020

The project work and clients here at Foolproof vary hugely, and whilst every project comes with its own nuances, the process I follow and the techniques I deploy share similarities. 

My current project means I’m part of an offsite team, working at the client’s office from Monday to Thursday. I work as part of a team of Foolproofers comprising Delivery Managers, Designers and UX Writers amongst others. So, whilst I’m not in the office, I still get my fair share of Foolproof fun!

To try and capture a snapshot of life here at Foolproof, here’s what a day might commonly look like for me. Before I get going I will say one of my favourite things about working at Foolproof is the variety, the new challenges and the flexibility that my role as a Senior Consultant affords me on a project. Basically, I’m not just the girl that does research!

Basically, I'm not just the girl that does research!
Morning:

I’m an early bird, so I usually reach the office before the rush to get myself organised and plan my day (because the only reason to write a to-do list is the satisfaction of ticking things off…). It’s calming, at the beginning of the day, to have a coffee and read through any interesting articles I’ve found to wake my brain up. This morning’s was entitled ‘How robot priests will change human spirituality’. It also means I can miss the chaos of rush hour! 

My day starts in earnest, at the daily team stand up. It’s a chance to check in with everyone on what they’re up to and what’s happening throughout the day. We’re a big team when you consider that Foolproof are part of the client’s product team, so it’s important for us to take the time to align on what everyone’s up to.

I’m currently working on planning out our research activities for the next couple of sprints. An important aspect of this is getting different people from across the client’s business involved. This means that the bulk of my morning involves running a quick workshop with some members of the team, focussing on what they see value in finding out from the research followed by starting to shape how we might go about doing that. I used an exercise based on the 5 whys, this helps everyone see beyond the face value of their questions and to dig deeper into what we’re actually trying to explore. 

Refuel with coffee…

This is followed by a catch up with the client’s Head of Research. I check in with him on a regular basis to make sure he’s happy with what we’re up to and to get his input on any research activities we’re planning, as well as hearing about what he’s been doing.

Lunch: 

It’s a Wednesday, so this means Smart Lunch! This is a permeant fixture in everyone’s calendars where we take it in turns to give a talk about pretty much anything. 

Past Smart Lunches have included everything from our own perspectives on mental health, to guest speakers from banana charities. Even though I’m offsite, all these Foolproof rituals are available to dial into remotely, so I set myself up with my lunch and my headphones from my desk at the client’s office.

It reminds me I’m meant to be doing the Smart Lunch next week, so I add that to my to do list… 

Afternoon:

The first thing I do is write a quick summary from this morning’s workshop to share with the team, followed by a bit of inbox admin and sending out an invite for the research day I’m organising next week. I try and get rid of all the niggly little tasks before I go to my next meeting. 

Next up is a quick catch up with my line manager. We have a regular, scheduled meeting slot every other week, which means whilst we might be working out of different offices we still have time to chat. Topics of conversation this week included writing some new personal objectives…

I have one more meeting left straight after this to talk through the prototype of a specific user journey with the designer, which needs input from a couple of different teams as we progress. It was a pretty straightforward meeting, resulting in next steps for the tech team to progress.

I'm then free for the rest of the day and spend a few hours on our research approach for the next day of testing which is next week. I’ve been working on a framework to help us establish measures of success for different user journeys, so I start thinking about how we can measure this through qualitative design research and how I can shape the hour-long sessions that we’ve specified. This keeps me busy for the rest of the day and by half five, it’s time to go home. 

This is just one example of what a day could look like for me. Like most roles - you have days that are more meeting-heavy, more screen-intense, or more people-focussed than others. Hopefully, this account should demonstrate the way we work with clients and each other, and the kind of tasks that come my way.


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