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Why Coverage Should Learn From Babysitting

babyCoverage! I am not talking about any signal coverage, police station coverage. People who works on shifts and a process, knows what a coverage is! I am talking about the coverage email ID your office has, to support your work on off hours or weekly offs!

I belong to Online Market Research Industry, and where coverage is an important word! You have lots of projects running in more than 50 countries around the world, you have more than 100 vendors, aligned with the sampling/programming process, you have a few thousand impressions on your database every hour and the primary project manager is not available 24×7. Here is the importance of a coverage. Your client can wake up in the morning of a fine Sunday and realize, a study has not doing well since last 12 hours! So, client sent an email to the PM and waiting for a response! The Project manager went to a friend’s place on Saturday and have a bad hangover! Sleeping/relaxing with the week-offs! Here comes the Coverage, who is doing the babysit while the PM is away.

I had an experience, during an interview with an online market research industry senior guy! He said, we don’t like those people as a project manager, who depends on coverage after the day shift is over or during the weekends! This sounds like, “I will not marry a woman, who will reply upon babysitters during her office time.” Because of it, the senior guy doesn’t hire those people as a Project manager, who rely on coverage.

I am not blaming the industry senior person. This is the traditional Indian mentality. We don’t have any concept of babysitter in India. Parents don’t rely upon baby sitters! Because, they never had an experience of having a dependable babysitter! Like the senior guy, who never had a dependable coverage team in his earlier offices. When my manager asked me to take care of weekend coverage, it was not something new for me, I have personally worked on weekends before, for quarters also few of my colleagues. But this time, I am not as a support executive, I am on weekends as a project manager. So, after almost 8 months, when I came back to coverage again, I realized there are so many changes in me, my approach to projects and communication styles.

The main change I first observed was my approach to my responsibility. A coverage is not someone who opens the door every-time someone knocks the door. This is a security guard’s job, not a babysitter’s. So, coverage is not only acknowledging the emails from client, coverage is to make sure the projects are running smoothly and the pace is maintained throughout the time.

 

So, I was preparing the new concept to present in-front of my team and here are some key points:

  1. Why coverage is important?

My clients can answer this better. When you email to your vendor/ suppliers after regular shift and you keep waiting for a response, how it feels! You asked your neighbor to take care of your children and you left for office. After a few hours, you are calling your neighbor for an update, and no one receives your call. You are clueless where are your children and your neighbor!

  1. What are the qualities a coverage guy must have?

Joint family is an Indian old practice! You know, what was the best thing about being in a joint family? You don’t have to worry about bringing up your infant/child. You can find senior guys in your family who are already mother and knows everything about taking care of a child. The same logic applies for any babysitter job too. When you are taking care of someone’s baby, you must be a mother or must have a younger brother or sister! Experience on projects is the basic criteria of any coverage guy! If you don’t know how a process works, how can you work on the same process, while you are working on the process alone!

It’s not only having a good knowledge on process, must have interest on the process you are working on. Because, as a baby sitter, you need to love babies and you need to invest your time and concentration for them. Otherwise, like a baby, a project is too much sensitive.

  1. How to present a study to your client, you are checking for the first time

Like a pro! Over the weekends we receive 120+ emails for 80+ studies each day and you don’t know what is the client’s preference, project’s requirement, project manager’s approach towards the project. Let’s assume you don’t have any coverage notes (True for 95%) and you have a high importance email from an unknown/semi known client asking you, are you feasible for the study? You have previous email chains, you scroll down few, you have Fulcrum you read the data how the study is performing for last few days and you have basic mathematics to check if the progress is matching pace! Now, coverage is all about how you are presenting the information about status, concerns and changes implicated by you to overcome concerns.

  1. When a study needs higher attention

Read the tone of client’s communication. or if you scroll down the email and find the update is same or almost same, you need to check the study, its proactive! Follow up email with progress confirmation after few hours.

  1. Challenges

When a mother hand over her child to baby sitter, provides all information in the babysitter’s notebook, that includes every details child is currently suffering from or eaten since morning, when to feed, what to feed! Lots of things. Handover is important, lots of emails/projects can be another one. Want to hear from you.

Can you please leave some challenges you experienced on the comment section?

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