Your project is going relatively smoothly with only a few issues…
And of course there are some issues: Have you ever managed a project without some problems or issues even under the best circumstances?
When has a project never encountered some issues and unexpected change orders? For me – never—not in 20+ years of managing programs and projects.
Simply put – the perfect project just doesn’t exist. Major League Baseball has been around in the U.S. for about 140 years with 210,000 games played and only 23 perfect games have been recorded. That’s rare, but the perfect project is even more rare – even non-existent.
So, if you’re like me, you’re always open to changes that can help bring nice results on your projects.
Even as dedicated project managers who care about what we’re doing and how we’re leading, we can get in a rut when we’re managing multiple projects at once. We can get stuck going through the same motions over and over again. However, each project is different and each customer needs to see that we care, not that we’re just doing our job.
So here is a list of five things that we can do today…or in the next couple of days…to make a difference on our projects and to hopefully make a positive impact on our customer and bring bigger and better results on our projects.
5 Things To Improve Your Project Management Today
Meet With Client End Users and Review Requirements
As you’re finalizing requirements with your team and the client, it might be a good idea to meet with the actual end users to discuss review those requirements. You might end up saving your client or department a lot of dollars in rework by confirming that the requirements really do match up well with what the end users’ need. You probably can’t go through every requirement, but you can present and confirm the critical functionality. Don’t just assume the client or business unit is doing this – they usually aren’t.
Offer Help With User Acceptance Testing
I’ve said many times that it’s a bad thing to create test cases for the client or do any user acceptance testing (UAT) for them. Any testing we do on our side beyond the normal testing we must do to ensure the solution is ready for UAT and deployment may be a conflict of interest. We can’t UAT for the client. But testing like that is often a stressor for the client, so offering assistance can be a huge help for them. Guide them on the road to creating good test cases and materials for UAT and assist them through UAT…just don’t do it for them.
Review Before You’ve Finished…And Discuss
Lessons learned sessions don’t have to be just about post-project reviews. Meet with the client during the project to discuss the pros and cons about what’s been going on so that you might be able to improve performance or service in a key area while the customer is still working with you. Taking corrective action during the project is always better than apologizing after the project.
Have the CEO Sit In On The Next Status Call
If you can get the CEO or other senior management to attend your next status meeting with the client it will go a long way in saying how important your customer is to you and your organization. Trust me on this – I have done this and it always helps.
Do a Mid-Project Satisfaction Assessment
We do weekly status calls (hopefully) with our customer, but do we reach out and ask how things are going from their perspective? Usually not…because we may not want to hear it. Or we just don’t take the time. Update the project schedule in your online project management software, knock on your project customer’s door (or get them on a video or conference call) and ask them how they think you and your team are performing. Satisfaction is key…and it’s one of those critical project success factors.
None of these alone is going to guarantee your customer loves you but any of these will likely help your project improve immediately… depending on what stage your project is in. None will guarantee project success but they will definitely make a positive impact. You’ll be doing positive, helpful things that are out of the norm and that go beyond the ongoing mundane tasks like tracking the project through project management software. Try these on your next project and see the positive the results and customer reactions.