What Technology Project Success Looks Like

Posted on Posted in Technology

By Theresa Zandi

We are consistently asked the question, “How would you define technology project success and what does it look like?” We all know that on time, on budget and on scope are the effective elements of a good project, but what if you meet all three criteria and the end result does not satisfy the need. Start at the beginning. When we look at a project, the most important element is defining the scope. According to the Project Management Institute, the basic definition of project management revolves around three parameters: time, budget, and scope. The more information we gather, the more issues and challenges are resolved. What is the end goal of the project? How will the project be utilized by the business? We strive to understand the project in its greatest detail in order to build a quality scope. Defining the budget is generally easier because most firms begin with a basic understanding of the project budget that they are willing to spend. And, on time is a critical function of project management holding all team members to deadlines and flexing where possible. Let’s look into the elements of project success deeper.

Success from a Project Management Perspective
Beyond the standard schedule, budget, and scope is quality. The quality of the project is typically assessed in a post-project review, which determines if the project was an overall success based on whether the project was completed on time, if it was within the set budget, and that it conforms with predetermined performance specifications. If each of these elements was achieved within the specifications of the client, then the project is considered a success. Keep in mind that the project itself, the project manager, the project team, and the project governance stakeholders are all taken into consideration when determining if a project is successful.

The main value in project management is to offer a direct measure of performance of the project and the management expertise that was applied to complete the project within the design parameters. Although this is true, the value has limitations. For instance, it only focuses on the means of the investment rather than if the deliverable did its job. Due to this limitation, two additional criteria are suggested when measuring success, including measures of project deliverable or the product success/business success.
technology project success
Success from a Product Perspective
The truth is, completing a project within scope does not necessarily mean it is a sufficient measure of project success. In order for it to truly be a success, the client must accept and use the project as it is and be beneficial to their business. You can do everything right, complete the project on time, within budget, and within scope, but the possibility of failing is still evident if you lack user acceptance.

Technology project success is split into two parts: 1) success of creating the project, and 2) satisfaction of the product and its effectiveness in benefitting the users. As important as it is to follow all of the steps in creating a project, product success post-project is just as important. If the product fails, then so does the project.

Success from a Process Perspective
Process success is the criteria that considers technical and managerial processes involving project management. This is considered to be a lower level criterion, but it provides a basis of critique and improvement of project processes. For example, in IT, the processes in development and deployment are reviewed post-project and it is determined if project management was a success. These post-project reviews typically consider if the correct processes were selected and applied appropriately and if they achieved the objectives of the project. This criterion gives a detailed examination of the project performance, which leads to learning and improving further processes.

Success from a Business Perspective
The measure of business success is also determined by schedule, time, cost, and quality; however, it is also measured by the degree to which objectives are met and how the company benefits financially. In other words, the objectives of the project relate to the goals of the project plan, and business objectives directly relate to the goals of the business plan. Both of these plans need to positively reflect each other in order to have a successful project. If the project doesn’t deliver the proper solutions that it was intended to carry out for the business, then the project is viewed as a failure.

Business success does take into consideration that project management practices or project deliverable could be inadequate, yet the project is still considered a success if the business objectives are met. There are many factors that determine technology project success. You could have failures throughout, but if the outcome is positive for your business, then it is considered successful.

Successful Strategies
Finally, the strategic success criteria represents the highest level of benefit achieved by a project. This is recognized by investors, peers, competitors, or even the general public, if applicable. Strategic success grants benefits that favor the company for future opportunities. This is considered the highest level of benefit, even if there are mistakes against lower level criteria. The fact is, it is the confirmation that a project delivered an outstanding end result.

There are many factors that determine what project success looks like. The truth is, success is much more than being on time, within budget, and on scope. Even with these key elements, there is still room for error. If you have any project-oriented questions, feel free to reach out. Good luck out there.

About Centurion Consulting Group
Centurion Consulting Group, LLC, a Woman-Owned Small Business headquartered in Herndon, VA conveniently located near Washington D.C., is a national IT Services consulting firm servicing the public and private sector by delivering relevant solutions for our client’s complex business and technology challenges. Our leadership team has over 40 years of combined experience, to include almost 10 years of direct business partnership, to the IT staffing, federal contracting, and professional services industries. Centurion’s leaders have the demonstrated experience over the past three decades in partnering with over 10,000 consultants and hundreds of clients –from Fortune 100 to Inc. 5000 firms –in multiple industries to include banking, education, federal, financial, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, non-profit, state and local, technology, and telecommunications. www.centurioncg.com

Centurion Spotlight: Sida Ju

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This week’s Centurion Spotlight features Senior DevOps Engineer, Sida Ju. We had the fantastic opportunity to sit down with Sida and discuss his interests in his DevOps Engineering career, technology, his favorite projects, and why he chooses to work with Centurion Consulting Group.

devops engineering career

What got you into technology?
My interests in technology began in my childhood. I remember getting our first PC and immediately being interested in computers. As a child, I was always playing around with the computer. It started out as just playing video games like every child my age, but that eventually led to digging deeper into the system and thinking to myself, “What else can I do with this?” This was the start of my interest in technology, and that interest continued to grow into my technology career. I went on to study computer engineering in college. Once I graduated, I had to consider the fact that computer engineering goes two ways: hardware and software. I gravitated toward the software side of computer engineering, and that is the field I got my first technology job in.

I currently have a DevOps Engineering career and am a member of the infrastructure team on a federal project. I am responsible for building out all systems in AWS with a heavy emphasis on scalability.

What was your favorite project you have worked on?
My favorite project was at a startup healthcare company. This particular company provided hospitals with programs for patients to watch and become more knowledgeable about the conditions they have. The code they already had written for the program was about ten years old and was very difficult to maintain. One of the things the company wanted to do was to refactor it and deploy it as microservices, but they didn’t have the capabilities or the knowledge to complete this task. When introduced to the project, I was tasked with creating the infrastructure to support the microservice architecture and build it out. This project was very enjoyable because, at the time, I wasn’t very knowledgeable about the subject; therefore, this task required a lot of research and testing. In the end, we were able to accomplish the task successfully and roll out the new services with new technologies. Overall, this project was very exciting because it was something new that I had not experienced. It was a learning process that was delivered on time and successfully. To my current knowledge, the company is still running the program I worked on, which is also very exciting.

Another favorite project of mine is my current project. Prior to this current federal project, my career as a DevOps Engineer had not exposed me to the cloud. One of the biggest reasons for joining this project was because I wanted to learn more about the cloud and gain more experience with the technology. The learning experience is what I enjoy the most in any project. This project involved a public online form. The data goes directly into one of our subsystems that I worked on and deploys the server that runs the code allowing you to see the website you are on. I worked on and managed a great deal of the back-end features in this project. We had to make the process as efficient and automated as possible. The overall outcome of this project was successful, and I am very excited for it.
devops engineering career

Why do you choose to work with Centurion?
One of the biggest reasons I choose to work with Centurion Consulting Group is because of the current project I am working on. I had interviewed with other places for contracting positions, and I found that these companies couldn’t tell me anything about the first project I would be working on, whereas, in this position, I was informed of exactly what the project was and my contribution to it. I appreciate the knowledge that Centurion brings to its consultants. Centurion really helped me in that respect.

About Centurion Consulting Group
Centurion Consulting Group, LLC, a Woman-Owned Small Business headquartered in Herndon, VA conveniently located near Washington D.C., is a national IT Services consulting firm servicing the public and private sector by delivering relevant solutions for our client’s complex business and technology challenges. Our leadership team has over 40 years of combined experience, to include almost 10 years of direct business partnership, to the IT staffing, federal contracting, and professional services industries. Centurion’s leaders have the demonstrated experience over the past three decades in partnering with over 10,000 consultants and hundreds of clients –from Fortune 100 to Inc. 5000 firms –in multiple industries to include banking, education, federal, financial, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, non-profit, state and local, technology, and telecommunications. www.centurioncg.com

Centurion Spotlight: Burak Tasel

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Meet our next Centurion Spotlight featuring our consultant, Burak Tasel! We had the great opportunity to sit down with Burak and discuss how he started working in technology, his favorite projects, and why he chooses to work with Centurion.

What got you into technology?
During my undergraduate study, I interned for a public accounting firm. At the time, this firm was going through a major accounting system upgrade. As part of my internship, I had the opportunity to assist them with their system and infrastructure setup as well as helping them migrate their data from the old system to the new system. This experience drew me deeper into technology. I really wanted to learn more about system design and programming languages, and that interest lead me to enroll in a Computer Science graduate program. About three (3) semesters into the program, I was offered a full-time software engineering position by one of the companies I had interned with. This was where my technology journey kicked off.

In my current role as an IT Consultant, I help our client succeed in implementing DevSecOps and modern software development practices. I work with many projects that involve automation, API development, and system integration. I have a particular interest in cloud computing, with a primary focus on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other distributed open source technologies. These are the main technologies I work with and I would consider them my greatest strengths.

What was your favorite project you have worked on?
In my favorite project, I held the role of the solution architect in support of the Marketplace System Integrator (MSI) contract for the Affordable Care Act. My team and I were responsible for providing architectural oversight and ensuring that development of the systems adhered to the Government-approved standards and technical reference architecture. This was a dynamic project involving many contracting teams that worked on different parts of this system. The biggest effort evolved around migrating major Marketplace components to the cloud in order to enhance the scalability, functionality, and durability of the system. As a result of this project, I gained a great amount of exposure to different technologies and got the opportunity to work closely with engineers from well-established companies.

Currently, I am working on a project involving modern software development and support. My team and I have the responsibility of spearheading the adoption of new technologies. In this process, we are helping other teams migrate into new technologies using modern development platforms and tools. These tools include a highly customized continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline. We also support various products throughout this project including tools to improve code quality and security posture of applications. All of these efforts are done with the hope that we can catch issues before the application is deployed to production. Overall, we help teams streamline their development process to produce high quality, secure, and maintainable software.

When the teams migrate their applications to the Modern Development Environment (MDE), they benefit from these best practices and tools. This all reflects on the metrics that we collect and share with the teams. For example, we can see the technical depth related to an application whether it is an increase or decrease over time. Seeing the teams utilize the metrics we collect is the most rewarding part of this project.
IT technology
Why do you choose to work with Centurion Consulting Group?
I became aware of Centurion’s role in the Agency’s ongoing effort to modernize their enterprise systems and move their critical applications to the cloud. I knew that I wanted to be a part of this effort and bring in some of my expertise and experience on the subject. I had also learned about Centurion and their mission, leadership, and successful engagement with various federal agencies. From there, I knew that I wanted to be part of the Centurion team.

About Centurion Consulting Group
Centurion Consulting Group, LLC, a Woman-Owned Small Business headquartered in Herndon, VA conveniently located near Washington D.C., is a national IT Services consulting firm servicing the public and private sector by delivering relevant solutions for our client’s complex business and technology challenges. Our leadership team has over 40 years of combined experience, to include almost 10 years of direct business partnership, to the IT staffing, federal contracting, and professional services industries. Centurion’s leaders have the demonstrated experience over the past three decades in partnering with over 10,000 consultants and hundreds of clients –from Fortune 100 to Inc. 5000 firms –in multiple industries to include banking, education, federal, financial, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, non-profit, state and local, technology, and telecommunications. www.centurioncg.com

Centurion Spotlight: Mark Villee

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This week, our Centurion Spotlight is focused on Mark Villee. Mark is a Recruiting Specialist with Centurion Consulting Group. We had the opportunity to sit down with Mark and discuss his interests in technology, his favorite project he has worked on, and why he chooses to make his career with Centurion.

What got you into technology and recruiting?
After college, I was recruiting on the engineering side of a manufacturing company. It came to a point where there was a lot of changes happening in the manufacturing industry and I wanted to make a shift in my career and learn more about IT. I already had some prior knowledge from setting up my own network and databases. I wanted to understand more about IT technology within agencies and eventually transition into Corporate Talent Acquisition. The biggest draw for me in IT was that it is something that is being utilized every day and by everyone. Whether it’s our smartphones or other every day devices, the ease of getting work done via computer has revolutionized things. I saw this as my next step in my technology recruiting career.
IT technology
My favorite thing about working in technology is that I’m always meeting new people. With IT, you meet a lot of people with different personalities and quirks and it’s very interesting seeing all of these people come together to make technology work. I primarily work with applicant tracking systems and HR software systems. When it comes to individuals, I work with candidates with skillsets in Java and Python, which are very hard to find. These are skillsets that I’m looking for every day.

What was your favorite project you have worked on?
My favorite project is a monthly recruiting event that we host. These events bring all of the hiring managers and candidates together. As a recruiter, I work to orchestrate getting the candidates and hiring managers lined up and making sure their meetings happen. I also evaluate the candidates and get the hiring managers feedback. Everything in this situation is like a dance where I’m courting the candidates and managers, getting them together and selling them the positives and the hurdles that may need to be overcome. My overall goal in this situation is matchmaking and having a successful outcome for everyone involved.

I had one particular candidate that had difficulty scheduling an in-person interview. We found a date that worked for him, and that happened to be one of our recruiting events. We brought the candidate in to the event, where they were able to meet with five (5) different teams and received an offer at the end of the day. It was that satisfaction that assured me that I’m doing the right thing. You always need to be persistent and keep after things. As with fully cleared software developers, once you find one that is interested, you want to make sure that you’re engaging them to get everyone where they need to be. You need to capture their interests and maintain those interests through the whole process.

The overall mission of my job is very rewarding. I enjoy finding people the right jobs so that they are happy and they can be the nation’s front line of defense in technology.
IT technology
Why do you choose to work with Centurion Consulting Group?
I had developed a relationship with one of the owners of Centurion where we had a lot of the same ideals and values. I felt a connection and wanted to find out more about Centurion. They are very well-respected in the community and they really support our mission and our client. Finding this company with similar values made it a great fit for me.

About Centurion Consulting Group
Centurion Consulting Group, LLC, a Woman-Owned Small Business headquartered in Herndon, VA conveniently located near Washington D.C., is a national IT Services consulting firm servicing the public and private sector by delivering relevant solutions for our client’s complex business and technology challenges. Our leadership team has over 40 years of combined experience, to include almost 10 years of direct business partnership, to the IT staffing, federal contracting, and professional services industries. Centurion’s leaders have the demonstrated experience over the past three decades in partnering with over 10,000 consultants and hundreds of clients –from Fortune 100 to Inc. 5000 firms –in multiple industries to include banking, education, federal, financial, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, non-profit, state and local, technology, and telecommunications. www.centurioncg.com

How to Build Your Career Path

Posted on Posted in Technology

By Theresa Zandi

As a technology consulting firm, almost every single conversation we have with candidates involves planning. Planning and creating your career path is something that technology candidates should be doing. Your end goal in your career is not just a distant dream. With proper planning and steps, it becomes a reality.

What is your plan? How will you get there? What do you need to retire? All of these questions are answered when mapping out your career path. If you want to eventually become a system architect, you need to figure out what being an architect means to you and how you want to get there. From there, you plan out the steps to get to your desired position.

Where to start
The process of creating your career path begins with the introspection of seeing where you are now, what’s in your skillset, and noting your experience. It all stems from what you currently have that you can build on. In this process, you need to be a realist because it’s not always going to be pie in the sky and perfect. You need to lay out your strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Once you have figured this out internally, you should ask the same questions externally. Internally, you are building the foundation of where you are currently and externally, you are asking peers, bosses, and/or mentors their opinions on your skills and goals. Most leaders want you to be looking ahead and asking for help. However, your approach is important, and you need to let them know that you’re not necessarily looking to go outside of the organization, rather you’re wanting to build yourself within the organization. Approaching your leaders provides you with the information of what they believe you excel at and what you should work on.

You will gain valuable insights by asking outside opinions, including those of a technology consulting firm, regarding your technology career path. For instance, let’s say you are in tech support. From there, you need to get into an escalation path where you become a manager. Next, you go into network administration and then network engineering. Another example is that you have an operations background and you become a developer. Once you gained that technology exposure, you decide you want to move into a DevOps role. Your next step is becoming a DevOps engineer or a higher-level manager.

Technology is a constantly evolving field. When working in IT, you need to consider that technology changes on a dime. For instance, I know someone that has a very specific technology skill and has become an expert in it. The only problem in this case is that no one uses the particular technology anymore. The moral of the story is that it is very important to develop skills in multiple technologies because it is always changing and you never know when what is hot today will not be used tomorrow.

Your approach
First and foremost, you need to figure out your endgame. What is it that you’re going after? As a technology consulting firm, we are here to help you answer that question. You want to define your timeline. Figure out when you are going to retire and what position and salary you want to ultimately end up with. Once you have identified this, you need to evaluate where you currently are and create the path from A to Z. The next step is to set your goals. It’s very important to break down the steps of getting to your end goal. It’s an incremental process of establishing time periods in your career path. In a specific case, you need five years to become a network engineer, and so on. Plan your work and work your plan. Keep in mind that when establishing your technology career path, you should consider detours due to the fact that technology is always evolving. There is also the component of continuing your education. You always need to be learning new things and adding skills to your repertoire, otherwise you could become a dinosaur in a particular technology and not have anything to fall back on if it becomes obsolete.

Ideally, you should begin considering your career path right after graduating college. However, it’s never too late to map out your technology career. Bottom line, it has to be done at some point in time, otherwise you are moving blindly through your career. If you are creating your path upon your college graduation, you should be considering your five and ten year plan.

Validation
Ultimately, if you are achieving the goals that you have set for yourself, you can be proud that you are on the right track. However, you always have to keep your finger on the pulse when in the technology industry, so you don’t miss emerging technologies as they come out. In IT, you need a plan based on the knowledge that you have. Keep reconnecting with that knowledge, but also continue learning new technology that comes your way. With this in mind, you are able to tweak your plan according to the next best technology in the market as opposed to having to change your entire career path based on technology becoming outdated. It’s very important to validate that the path you are setting is sound.
technology consulting firm
As a technology consulting firm, we are here to assist you with your career path. As leaders and mentors, we are partners in your career and want to be sure you are taking the proper steps to get you to your end goal. If you need your technology career path validated, feel free to reach out. Good luck out there.

About Centurion Consulting Group
Centurion Consulting Group, LLC, a Woman-Owned Small Business headquartered in Herndon, VA conveniently located near Washington D.C., is a national IT Services consulting firm servicing the public and private sector by delivering relevant solutions for our client’s complex business and technology challenges. Our leadership team has over 40 years of combined experience, to include almost 10 years of direct business partnership, to the IT staffing, federal contracting, and professional services industries. Centurion’s leaders have the demonstrated experience over the past three decades in partnering with over 10,000 consultants and hundreds of clients –from Fortune 100 to Inc. 5000 firms –in multiple industries to include banking, education, federal, financial, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, non-profit, state and local, technology, and telecommunications. www.centurioncg.com

Centurion Spotlight: Ted Meehan

Posted on Posted in Technology

This week, our spotlight is shining down on Centurion employee, Ted Meehan, an Agile Scrum Master within the government sector. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Ted and, in this interview, we discovered how his technology career began, his favorite project he has contributed to, and why he is proud to be a Centurion.

What got you into technology?
In the beginning of my career, I thought I wanted to be a high school teacher. I taught for a year and realized that, because I was so young, I didn’t have a lot of life experience to offer to the students. During this time, a big .com tech boom was occurring, and I had a small amount of tech experience from working in a computer lab in college. agile scrum masterAt that moment, I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher anymore, so I started applying for tech jobs. I began my technology career developing my skillset and learning about the latest and greatest technologies at the time. From there, I built a background in development, testing, and customer support.

Technology had always seemed like a good fit for me. I love technology and growing my skillset within it. Along with this, I’ve also always had great people skills, which went a long way for me in my technology career. I’ve always found myself being the lead of every project I was on because of my communication with all of the team members. I’m not the cliché, stereotype of the introverted software engineer. Not only did being tech savvy help me in the growth of my technology career, but also my communication skills and wanting to talk and work with everyone involved in projects.

In my career, I found that I really loved working with the software development teams. In specific instances, I worked closely with Agile coaches that trained our teams. As I oversaw this, I was also getting the certifications with those coaches. Every step I’ve taken has greatly contributed to my technology career.

What was your favorite project you have worked on?
In a previous position, the development teams I worked with would build new code and only test it within that application. It was never able to be tested throughout the entire ecosystem, and there were about 15 different applications within that ecosystem. We never had an environment to test data from beginning to end. I have always had a passion for automated testing, so I maintained and built a lot of these testing environments. Another colleague and I decided we needed an integration environment. We needed a mini ecosystem to verify any code changes so that it didn’t affect the entire ecosystem. The current system proved to be very inefficient, so over two years, I took all 15 applications and built a mini integration environment. With this, we were able to simulate production in an integration environment and we were able to see the data go through the entire system prior to going to production.

This particular project was important because the advertising system we were working on generated a lot of money. Any hiccup in this application would be detrimental. I was very passionate about this project and I saw the value in it. Once the project was implemented, it saved a lot of time, money, and rework of software. I was very proud of the outcome, and the environment is still being used to this day.

Why do you choose to work with Centurion Consulting Group?agile scrum master
Working with Centurion has a lot to do with the people that work there and their great personalities. When I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do to further my technology career, I sat down with the team at Centurion and was assured of many options. I’ve worked with IT Consulting firms before, but Centurion was different because of their passion and their want for clients and candidates to succeed. This was the big reason I wanted to become a Centurion and want to stay a Centurion.

About Centurion Consulting Group
Centurion Consulting Group, LLC, a Woman-Owned Small Business headquartered in Herndon, VA conveniently located near Washington D.C., is a national IT Services consulting firm servicing the public and private sector by delivering relevant solutions for our client’s complex business and technology challenges. Our leadership team has over 40 years of combined experience, to include almost 10 years of direct business partnership, to the IT staffing, federal contracting, and professional services industries. Centurion’s leaders have the demonstrated experience over the past three decades in partnering with over 10,000 consultants and hundreds of clients –from Fortune 100 to Inc. 5000 firms –in multiple industries to include banking, education, federal, financial, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, non-profit, state and local, technology, and telecommunications. www.centurioncg.com

Centurion Spotlight: Jeff VanVoorhis

Posted on Posted in Technology

We are very excited to introduce the first of many Centurion Spotlights, which do exactly what you think: they put a spotlight on one of our great employees! We had the opportunity of sitting down with Jeff VanVoorhis, who is currently rewriting applications with a framework migration from Struts 1 to Struts 2. In this interview, Jeff discusses how he started his technology career, his favorite projects he has worked on, and why he chooses to work for Centurion Consulting Group.

What got you into technology?
My career started with a six-year stint in the Navy. After I was discharged, I worked in sales for 13 years. At the end of my sales career, I decided I wanted a change and to go into a career that was more substantial. At that time, I noticed that computer programming was in high demand and growing with a high compensation potential. I took that opportunity to get a degree in Computer Science while interning full-time in my desired technology field. As it turned out, I ended up loving the work in technology.

What kicked off my interest in technology was taking a Microsoft Office class when getting my degree. At the time, I didn’t have a clue what I was getting myself into. However, I have been programming for about 22 years now, and I love what I’m doing and glad I made that step into technology. Prior to this career change, I had worked in construction and sales, and working in the position I am now makes me appreciate it much more. I work in a very comfortable environment with professional people and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it. I feel I have so much more growing to do in my technology career, and that is very exciting to me.

What was your favorite project you have worked on?
I have been involved with some great projects that I really enjoyed working on. However, the one that stands out the most to me is my first project as a Tech Lead. This project was to create an application that allowed new account set-up for our customers. It was designed to build a customer-facing application that allowed customers to easily create an account online. As a team working on this project, we needed to make it possible for customers to link their bank accounts and make deposits through this application. At the time, there was not an application within the company that could perform this function. This factor made this particular project very exciting.

This project was my first Tech Lead position, and it had a very positive outcome. As well as leading the project, my role was being a developer. I set up the basic framework for the project and made decisions regarding those frameworks, the scheme of how the application worked and how it accessed the database, as well as working with all of the technology (including Java) involved. Essentially, I had the shell of the application created when the other developers were brought in. From there, the rest of the team was informed what needed to be accomplished. As we continued, I worked side-by-side with the other developers. The overall project was very challenging, but it was fun seeing everything come together.
IT jobs
Why do you choose to work for Centurion Consulting Group?
I spent most of my career working in the private sector. Just a few years ago, I decided to venture out for more challenging work. I decided that government contracting would provide me with the opportunities I was looking for. I was happy at my previous job, which was my first government contracting position. However, it was the dynamic personality of a Centurion recruiter that lured me into working for the company. I have not regretted it for a second.

In the past, I worked with mostly large companies. What I love about Centurion is that it’s smaller and much more intimate. Centurion is made up of great people that genuinely care about you.

About Centurion Consulting Group
Centurion Consulting Group, LLC, a Woman-Owned Small Business headquartered in Herndon, VA conveniently located near Washington D.C., is a national IT Services consulting firm servicing the public and private sector by delivering relevant solutions for our client’s complex business and technology challenges. Our leadership team has over 40 years of combined experience, to include almost 10 years of direct business partnership, to the IT staffing, federal contracting, and professional services industries. Centurion’s leaders have the demonstrated experience over the past three decades in partnering with over 10,000 consultants and hundreds of clients –from Fortune 100 to Inc. 5000 firms –in multiple industries to include banking, education, federal, financial, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, non-profit, state and local, technology, and telecommunications. www.centurioncg.com

Networking Like a Pro

Posted on Posted in Consulting, Technology

by Theresa Zandi

I speak with technology candidates every day and hear a variety of questions. One of the most recent interesting questions from a tech candidate was, “How can I do a better job of networking?” Everyone spends, or should spend some amount of time networking, but what do we mean by networking and what are some best practices?

The Difference Between Networking Online vs In-Person
The difference between in-person and online may be obvious, but it is simply the anonymity of online vs being physically in front of someone. While online allows you to reach out to many people, it doesn’t translate into relationships unless you take action. Whereas, in-person networking events offer less people, but you get face time with them. Both areas of networking have their pros and cons – it’s how you take advantage of them is the strongest point.

I am of the opinion that it is important to wear a suit to networking events, but not everyone today agrees with that, so simply dress professionally. Further in this article, I go into ways to set yourself apart and make networking work for you. With that said, I want to take a minute to talk about using LinkedIn for your networking. Keep in mind that connecting with people is not simply hitting the connect button. We all need to spend some time getting to know our connections and turning them into relationships. 2000 connections doesn’t equal 2000 people ready to help you.

Things to Keep in Mind When NetworkingTechnology Management Consulting
Networking requires a plan. What types of people do you want to connect with? What are your goals? Do you know people attending? I go into networking with a plan and that plan changes based on the type of event. At meetups or user group sessions, I keep in mind that there is an entire room of people to meet. I also remember that there may be people I already know that I need to reconnect with. Am I there to meet new technology candidates for a particular position or am I trying to meet more people within specific technologies? The answer to both is “yes”. You could end up talking to someone that you form a relationship with that won’t do anything for you. Some of the events I attend are to simply meet fellow women business owners so that we can assist each other and even share war stories. Be sure to have a plan.

Seek out those you want to know as opposed to sitting back and waiting for people to approach you. Let them feel that you value the contact. If you are going to a meet-up group, be knowledgeable about the topic. Some Business Analyst candidates attend Project Management networking events because they are looking to move into project management. Be sure that you are able to hold a strong conversation with those around you.

A key point is to always have an elevator pitch. For a technology candidate, this focuses on one simple question, “Who am I in a nutshell?” Approximately 5% of technology candidates have prepared elevator pitches, thus lessening their value proposition. For more on preparing your elevator pitch, click here. While speaking with people, be conscious of both yours and their time. Some conversations are not the right fit. It is okay to move on to other people by simply excusing yourself. Another common issue for technology candidates is having a business card or shareable contact information on your phone. While meeting with your new contact, don’t be afraid to ask to exchange information through texting right there on the spot.

One thing people forget is the importance of following up and it should occur within 24 hours. Following up is not just about sending over a resume, it is confirming that you appreciated their time and that you are glad to get to know them. Sincerity is key in your follow up and remember that it is alright to get to know someone before you ask them to do something for you. Many people jump right to the “Ask” before establishing rapport.

Tips for Networking Like A Pro
Networking pros standout because they perform nearly all of the tasks below.

  • They come with a plan
  • They work the room
  • They have their elevator pitch down
  • They dress the part
  • They have great eye contact and exude positive body language (SMILE!)
  • They listen twice as much as they talk (you have 2 ears and 1 mouth – use them accordingly)
  • They use their time wisely
  • They step out of their comfort zone
  • They always follow up afterward
  • They are prepared to share contact information

I hope this provides a good foundation for all of you networkers. Be prepared to put yourself out there because you never know what you will get in return.

About Centurion Consulting Group
Centurion Consulting Group, LLC, a Woman-Owned Small Business headquartered in Herndon, VA conveniently located near Washington D.C., is a national IT Services consulting firm servicing the public and private sector by delivering relevant solutions for our client’s complex business and technology challenges. Our leadership team has over 40 years of combined experience, to include almost 10 years of direct business partnership, to the IT staffing, federal contracting, and professional services industries. Centurion’s leaders have the demonstrated experience over the past three decades in partnering with over 10,000 consultants and hundreds of clients – from Fortune 100 to Inc. 5000 firms – in multiple industries to include banking, education, federal, financial, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, non-profit, state and local, technology, and telecommunications. www.centurioncg.com