Updated: Jun 26
Hello folks 👋🏼
I’m taking a break from the APC posts for this week. It’s been just over a year since I moved to my current role. I have definitely learned a lot during this time but I know there is still a lot more to learn!
In this post, I’m going to go through the things which I wish I knew before I started the role. Hopefully, this will help those of you who are starting commercial roles soon!
Organisation - This is such an obvious soft skill but trust me I’ve worked with people who are so disorganised it’s unbelievable. In my role, I am often responsible for 5 or 6 projects at any one time. Each of these projects has individual contracts which are managed separately but reported to the client in collated. This means I literally have to know every little detail about each of my projects to ensure I give the client the full picture. I struggled with this in the beginning, but I found the following tips:
Calendar - Use your calendar to lock in key dates and deliverables. If you know you have reports due by certain dates lock them in as recurring meetings for yourself and whoever signs them off for you. The same applies to applications for payment dates - if you know your supplier has to submit an AfP by a certain date then lock it in!
Notes - Keep a notebook. When I write these posts I feel like I'm teaching you to suck eggs, but I have seen so many QSs come to work without a notepad and pen. Are you guys geniuses with top-tier memory retention? Like how do you remember everything you need to know. The truth of the matter is you don’t! Make sure you get into the habit of noting down key bits of information.
Task Lists - I always keep a daily task list which identifies everything I need to do for the day. Sometimes I keep the list on my phone but more often than not it’s on a post-it note on my desk and I cross the tasks out throughout the day as I progress.
Contract Management - Your contract knowledge needs to be solid. I’ve just completed an NEC PM Accreditation course and to be frank, I wish I had this level of knowledge before I started my role. I knew the basics re: the NEC but being a competent practitioner gives you an edge and enables you to act confidently when dealing with your colleagues internally and with your suppliers externally. So the question is how do you learn the contract? Your first option is to request formal training from your employer. If this is not an option then you need to self-study. There are loads of free resources and it really depends on your contract suite of choice. I am going to do a few posts on the NEC shortly that cover what I got taught during my training.
Financial Reporting - I’m not sure if all commercial roles require intensive financial knowledge but when you work with cost reports that integrate into the client’s financial systems, then having a brief understanding of financial accounting/reporting will really help.
That’s it for this post folks - as always if you have any questions please give me a shout!