Liz Sampson

IMSE Undergrad Class of 2015

Deloitte Technology Consulting

What does the company do? “Deloitte” is the brand under which tens of thousands of professionals in independent firms throughout the world collaborate to provide audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, tax, and related services to select clients. All of these firms are members of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”). Deloitte’s Technology Consulting services is the portion of Deloitte that helps to solve business problems by applying technologies to help achieve business goals and demand.


There are a lot of different projects/work that fall underneath this “Technology Consulting” umbrella. So to break it down even further, I work under the Federal Technology Consulting umbrella


Current role: Business Technology Analyst

How I get to my current role:

  • Intern with the Connors Group LLC 04/2015 – 10/2015
  • Business Technology Analyst 09/2015 – Present


A day in life of a Business Technology Analyst – My current project within the Federal Technology Consulting practice is helping to serve a federal government agency on one of its IT procurement tools. Unlike most consulting professions, since I fall under the federal portion, we do not do a lot of traveling outside of Washington DC. Typically I am on client site 1-2 days a week for client meetings, but other than that traveling out of town is usually only a few times a year (maybe once every 1-2 months for a few days at a time). We are involved in the development, maintenance and full Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) of the procurement tools for this agency. We also support a lot of the strategy work behind the procurement tools and the contracting work that go into utilizing and maintaining the tools. My work specifically on my project typically involves the most “forward thinking” aspects of the tools, and enabling them for future use with many unknowns at play. There is usually a surprising amount of strategy work involved.


There are some days where I might be at full day off-sites with clients trying to help strategize their future contracts and business models, and there are some days where I am sitting at my desk all day in meetings and creating documentations- no two days are ever the same as a consultant here! If you asked me and another person on the same team as me what our day to day experiences are like in the office, you would likely get two wildly different responses. I like to describe the consulting profession as the “undecided major of life” because there really are so many options as to what you could be working on.


Many times my work can be pretty flexible since a lot of our work is done on the computer. The typical work day for me would be from 8-5:30, but schedules are rarely ever the same and it always is dependent on what is going on for your project. If there is ever a need for you to work from home (say you are traveling back home, or have a doctor’s appointment) our work is generally very flexible with that- which makes balancing normal life stuff with work pretty easy.


Below is an example of a recent day I’ve had.


6:40AM – My day typically starts at around 6:30 to give me a little an hour to get ready to head out to work. I usually spend my mornings checking my work email, reading the Skimm and drinking coffee.

7:50AM – I leave for work usually about 30 minutes before I need to be there. My work is only a few miles from home but since I am near Washington DC the traffic in is terrible. I almost never drive to work (I really hate the traffic, and parking is pricey). I try to bike to work as often as I can- we have a bike room in the parking garage of my building which is very convenient (and free J). Dress code is business casual except for Tuesdays when my client is in the office, which in that case the dress would be business professional. If there are any important meetings, I would dress business professional as well. Wednesdays I am normally at client site, which would again be business professional.

8:00AM – I arrive a little earlier than most people to start the day. I get ready for the day by replying to emails and checking my calendar for the day. You wouldn’t believe how much easier it is to prepare to take on the day by arriving early to work- it picks up quickly once people start to pile in the office, so it is nice to level set in the peace and quiet J

9:00AM – Typically by 9AM most people are in the office and things have already taken off. Often times, I find myself working with other members of various work streams to answer any questions they might have. I work mainly on the “Functional Team.” This really means that I help to support one of the largest work streams on our project doing things like requirements gathering, client meetings, demos of functionality to clients, documenting client meetings and feedback, and working with the development team to funnel all of the information we gathered from our clients back to our team so we can get the correct product built for our stakeholders.

9:30AM – Our 9:30 meeting (or “Stand up” as we like to call it) is normally my first meeting of the day. We use this time to have all of our work streams touch base with each other and level set for the day- we have this 9:30 meeting every single day. During this time, the developers, the functional members, and testing team all sync up and talk about what they have been working on (maybe yesterday or the past few days) and what they plan to work on that day. If there are any impediments that are preventing them from getting their work done, this is where they would voice that concern. This really helps to get all of the team members on the same page and helps to see where people need to be focusing for the day. It also helps to identify where team members could possibly be working together on items. This meeting normally only lasts 20 minutes, but in particularly busy times can last a bit longer.


(Note: My company has offices all over the world, and a many of my teammates actually reside in Orlando, Florida. Many of our meetings have to be virtually run and screen shares + conference calls are a must. Having different work locations can be interesting, but you find ways to make it a bit easier by using items like our daily stand up call, or scrum boards AKA online “To-Do” lists that are shared across entire teams. Staying organized as a larger group makes things much easier.)

10:30AM-12:30PM – Defect remediation time. We are in the midst of preparing for our User Acceptance Testing (UAT) where our stakeholders that have been participating in our requirements gathering sessions over the past year get to actually test out the developed functionality. Unfortunately, we follow more of a waterfall software development style, so it is sometimes more difficult to collect stakeholder feedback over time, it will most likely come all at once when they get to test it out for themselves. We have been trying to coach our clients into a more Agile style process (giving more demos, collecting feedback more often, smaller sprints etc) so that we aren’t releasing such massive amounts of functionality all at one time. But some of our clients are very set in their ways and tend to have a visceral reaction to the term “Agile.” We are getting better with it though- baby steps!!


Many of my days in recent months have been testing the developed functionality and making sure that it follows what was gathered during meetings with stakeholders. Since I am usually in all of the meetings with our clients, it definitely helps for me to dive in and click around because I can directly relate the functionality back to what was discussed in meetings. The government agency that I support follows a very specific and non-streamlined business process. They have done it for years, and it is very very difficult to try and convince them of other methods (quite like pulling teeth). When we are testing the functionality, we are also working with our development team to make sure we are building things the best way possible. A lot of the code we are building on top of is outdated, so we have to be careful not to inadvertently break things. There are also times that after things are developed we might realize something that was missed, or something extra that can improve the process. If that is the case we need to meet back up with our clients (be it an in person meeting, phone call, email chains) to discuss the missed item or new improvement and get those items approved by the client and updated in all of our documentation.

12:30PM – Eat lunch at desk and work on making outstanding documentation updates before new ones come through!

2:00PM-3:00PM – Meet with the development team to develop new functionality. During these meetings, typically the functional team members that participate in client meetings will meet with the dev team to figure out an approach to develop a piece of functionality. These meetings can vary in complexity, but most times we will meet for around an hour and have an “all hands on deck” design session. In these sessions we are usually white boarding a solution- screen mockups, where certain buttons on the page will lead, requirements for each page, validation for each page, etc. The functional team members generally help mostly with the design and look of the page, and ensuring that all requirements of the client are met. The development team will create a LOE (or level of effort) for the task and figure out how to best develop the mocked up solution and divide up the work. These sessions are great to do together as a team so that the functional team doesn’t design something that cannot be easily developed, and the development team doesn’t miss a requirement form the stakeholders.

3:00PM-4:00PM – Meet with the testing team to discuss defects they have found. Like I said before, we have been preparing for user acceptance testing, so a lot of what I am currently doing has to do with cleaning up our system to make sure that it is working properly based on what the stakeholders wanted in our requirements gathering sessions. The testing team typically runs on sprints alongside our dev team (e.g. when the development team finishes up new functionality, they push it to our QA environment so that the testing team can ensure everything is working properly). There is typically a 2 week period where the testing team will run pre-developed test cases based on the functional team’s documentation (or use cases). During this 2 week period the development team is also working on new developments / defect remediation. At the end of the 2 week cycles, the testers will report pass/fail test cases and defects that go a long with them. The dev team will hopefully be releasing functionality into QA that will make the testing teams number of failed test cases go down J


Since I am on the functional team, we are constantly working with all of the teams to make sure we are there and answering any questions they may have. You might have documented a requirement from the client that breaks another requirement that has previously been in place, or maybe a requirement that should definitely be in the system was completely overlooked. There is really never a dull moment!

4:00PM-5:30PM– Prepare a slide deck for the user acceptance testing. Before we just unleash massive updates to the client, we want to be sure we review all of the new functionality that we will be releasing to them. In the upcoming week we are going to have a “UAT Kick-off” with the client to almost give them a step by step guide as to what new functionality is being released, and how to use it. This is going to be a massive slide deck to make sure we are covering everything we need to so that hopefully there is less confusion during the actual testing period. After the “UAT Kick-off,” my team will host daily touch points with the clients and open up a conference line for anybody to join and ask any questions or voice any concerns that they have. Once we actually have the deck finalized on my work stream, we will have to pass it off to our mangers to get their approval before sending it out to any clients.


5:30PM – Time to get out of the office (hopefully!) Like I said, there is no typical day and sometimes there are items that keep you at the office a bit later. Since we are currently preparing for a major release and there has been a lot of work to keep up with. But we always try to work together and get out of the office as early as we can!


Why chose technology consulting? Honestly, I was not sure what I wanted to do when I graduated. I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. But I wanted to make sure that I picked a career that would put me in a place that was flexible. I didn’t want to pick a career that would pigeon hole me- I wanted to test the waters! I also wanted to make sure that I would have the ability to learn new things and surround myself with learning opportunities (which is definitely the case, so I am very happy about that). The truth is, I wanted a career, not just some plain old job. I wanted to pick something I could grow and learn with and I think that is exactly what consulting is for me.


What’s the end goal? My end goal is to find a project that is the type of work I really enjoy doing. I have learned a lot over the past year and a half on my current project, and I hope to continue to do that. Then later on I might be able to hop onto a different project at Deloitte and learn even more things. I really enjoy working for my client, but who knows what else is out there!


Most surprising thing that I didn’t expect coming out of college – The most surprising thing for me coming out of college was how much things can change on a day-to-day basis. There are some days where everything is smooth sailing, but one pebble in the water can cause ripples! It is almost amusing how things really do shift, how quickly objectives change, and how I never have the same day twice. It is always just good to remain flexible and roll with whatever is coming!


Least favorite thing about technology consulting – Since I work for such a large client, you often cannot get two people to agree on the same thing, this can lead to a lot of back and forth (drama) and ultimately one client has to make the final call. Frequently we, as the technology consultants who build the product, get yelled at for something we were explicitly told to do- which is never fun!


My 2 cents – Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something- if there is something you want to try, then try it. Or if there is something you want to learn, go out and learn it. And always make sure you are taking care of yourself. You only have one life to live and you better make sure you are living it!

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