Last month we hosted a VT Virtual Session with Karnita McElveen, VP of Operations and Program Management Office (PMO) for Information Sciences Consulting, Inc (ISCI). Karnita described how she used VT Docs for both business and professional growth.
Shortly after joining the company, she realized that
VT Docs held untapped potential for ISCI. She saw opportunities to save time, improve processes and increase compliance.
Karnita achieved all her objectives. And much more.
Using VT Docs enabled her to move up the ladder quickly, and gain a promotion within six months. So how did she do it?
Steps to using VT Docs for business and personal growth
From day one in her new role, Karnita took personal responsibility for the smooth running of the PMO. She shared some advice about the mentality needed to make changes. And the ways in which automation can secure opportunities for professional growth and career progression. Here are her three steps:
1. Take an “outside of the box” approach.
When Karnita joined ISCI, she worked out that the company had less than 5% use of VT Docs. Although they had access to the solution, no one had taken ownership of exploring all the benefits it could yield. So she did that herself. She took up the free VT Docs training available. She then realized that the solution could help her
understand how things worked at ISCI.
It was obvious to Karnita that automating the creation of Compliance Matrices would save her time. She didn’t stop there, though. She looked for ways in which the solution could support her other work.
Having recently joined the company, she wanted to understand her colleagues’ roles in the proposal process. So she customized the Contract Kickoff Dictionary, dropped contracts into the Responsibility Matrix, and shredded them. This enabled her to identify who was responsible for which aspect of the proposal across the whole organization. She was able to quickly figure out deliverables, capacity, and needs. This meant she could speak knowledgeably with the executive team about the proposal processes and roles.
Karnita recommends thinking creatively. Perhaps there are shortcuts you could be tapping into that would save time? Perhaps a solution used by one department could be utilized by another team? Question everything.
2. Use the time you save wisely.
By using VT Docs effectively, Karnita automated a huge part of her work. This enabled her to free up time for more important tasks. For example, reviewing and improving processes.
Let’s take an example. Using VT Docs for status reports has cut meeting times by 50%. Now everyone comes fully briefed on what progress has been made since the last update. As well as understanding and owning their individual responsibilities. Karnita says:
“The use of the tool saved me days’ worth of time and effort. This freed me up to explore how I could support other areas of the organization.”
3. Bring colleagues on board
Cutting down her workload in this way meant Karnita had more time to build relationships with her new colleagues. And, using the solution, she was able to fully understand how the different parts of the business worked together. For example, carrying out a Responsibility Matrix enabled her to create RACIs (a model used for identifying roles and responsibilities). She then fully understood her colleagues’ work and could support them better in their spaces. She also implemented the Contract Kickoff to show Proposal Managers (PMs) how VT Docs could help with project plans. Karnita says:
“My use of the tool across the organization showed my peers my support for their individual departments. It helped them save time by providing them details of their programs and responsibilities.”
It also enabled her to build a positive relationship with ISCI’s CEO. Karnita shared an anecdote on the webinar. Someone in the organization forgot to use Track Changes, which meant hours of extra work for the CEO. He would have needed to manually check each version for the source of the changes. Karnita had already started using Compare Docs for version control. She was able to save the CEO’s day by using Compare Docs to quickly restore the original version. Since then, VT Docs has completely removed this element of human error. Her CEO was thrilled, and no doubt this played a part in Karnita’s promotion.
Recap of results
By implementing VT Docs effectively across the organization, Karnita secured the following results:
- She increased her focused, uninterrupted time from 50 to 80%.
- Cut meeting time by 50% because everyone was more prepared for each meeting.
- Increased her quiet days (those with no activity outside of working hours). Using the month of May as a snapshot, these grew from 10 to 24 days.
- Won every proposal she supported in the first 6 months of being in the role.
- Implemented a number of process improvements for the business. We documented this in a separate blog.
- Within 6 months in the company, Karnita was promoted from Director of Proposal Operations to Director of the PMO.
Proposal creation is time and resource-heavy. When deadlines approach, PMs work long hours and risk burnout. Karnita found that VT Docs takes the strain off. Increasing quiet days and cutting meeting times helped her free up time to work, but also to rejuvenate. Which made her more productive. Which led to better relationships, and results. Ultimately, it helped secure her promotion. Ask yourself this – what could VT Docs do for your business and your career?