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Career Story: Process Improvement Consultant

Process Improvement Consultant

Job Title: Process Improvement Consultant

Type of Company: My company provides IT and acquisition, program management and support services to government agencies such as the Department of Defense and the DOT. We also provide some consulting services to defense contractors.

Education: BS, Business Administration, UMass-Lowell •• MS, Computer Science, UMass-Lowell •• Masters, Divinity, Gauden University

Previous Experience: I worked as a software developer for two years and as a software quality assurance representative for four years and a program manager for several years.

Job Tasks: I visit customers and watch how they do business to see if there are any ways they can do things faster and more efficiently. I also help them look for ways to save money over the long run.

Before each visit I work out a plan: who I should see and talk to and what documents I should look at. I also choose who is going to be on my team to help me do this work.

The team talks to employees from across the customer's company, sometimes including the president. The team also looks at the different ways they are performing their work in management, engineering, process and support. As a team we prepare a list of what is good and what needs to be fixed. We also give recommendations on how to fix problems and how to make things better. At the end of the visit we give them a grade so they can see how they are doing and something to compare to in the future.

At the end of the visit we give a presentation to the company and then meet with the president to discuss any questions he may have. After we leave the company I work on a report the company can use as a process improvement plan.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is meeting new people and seeing how different companies do things. I have also been able to go to England and Germany for my job.

The worst part of my job is having to travel a lot and working long hours at the company's site. Sometimes looking at a lot of documents can get boring.

Job Tips:
1. Start with a good foundation in development (software or hardware) and have some knowledge of program management. This will give you a background to understand what to look for in different companies.

2. Also realize that not all companies do things the same... which is just fine. You need to be able to adapt based on how a company does business.

3. Get experience working with groups. Since everyone needs to work together to come to one decision, everyone needs to be willing to discuss things openly and consider everyone's opinion and be able to compromise.

Additional Thoughts: I got into this field by accident. I was working as a developer and quality assurance associate and got an opportunity to go on a trip to do a process improvement review to help a fellow employee. I enjoyed the work and took the necessary classes so I could be skilled to lead a team. Be willing to check out different opportunities that come your way.

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