Consultants: 20 Questions to Ask When You Start a New Projec

Published: Apr 25, 2011


By Kristine Schoonmaker, MyConsultingLife.Com

Starting a new project can be exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time. In a perfect world, you have at least a conversation (or two) with your project lead or team members prior to arriving on site. The goal of those conversations should be to orient you to the history and current status of the project, your role on the team, and give you an overview of the team dynamics and political environment on the ground. But there are those times when demand is high, there's pressure to fill a role, yesterday, and proper onboarding becomes a luxury. If you find yourself having a quick chat on Tuesday afternoon and jumping on a plane first thing Wednesday morning, here's a quick list of 20 questions you can ask to get the basic info you need to get up and running quickly.

Client/Project Info—Ask your boss

•What is the current status of the project?
•Is there a statement of work and project plan I can review (find out contracted deliverables and timelines)?
•What does success look like for my role?
•Who are the main clients and how do you see me interacting with them?
•Who are the firm executives on the account and what are their roles?
•What politics should I be aware of?
•What documents should I review first or who should I meet with to get up to speed quickly?
•What do I need to tackle first this week?

Admin Items—Ask a friend

•Is there a shared workspace or SharePoint for the account/project team?
•Are there specific templates that should be used for deliverables? A brand for the project?
•Where's the printer?
•What are the expense policies?
•Is there a preferred hotel?
•Are there any other requirements (e.g., training, policy reviews)?
•Where and how should I bill my time (Charge code or WBS)?
•What are the typical work hours of the client?

General Info—Ask a friend or check online

•Where are the best places to eat?
•Where is the nearest dry cleaner?
•Where is the nearest grocery or department store?
•How long does it take to get to the airport, train station in traffic?

Kristine Schoonmaker is The Career & Lifestyle Coach for Consultants and founder of Her bi-weekly ezine Accelerate offers practical insider advice and quick tips from a former consulting exec to help YOU take greater control of your career and stay engaged in your personal life from the road. If you’re ready to have it all – an amazing career in consulting without giving up the lifestyle, relationships and experiences you want, get your FREE subscription now at


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