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Managing the Last 100 Feet

Kevin Korterud’s father taught him that, when it comes to all the big, centralized technology that keeps telephone lines running, a telephone line can still malfunction if something goes wrong in the last hundred feet from the power line to the customer’s phone. This same principle applies to project management. Korterud writes an article for Voices on Project Management on how to stick the landing in four components:

  1. Find end-user stakeholders.
  2. Mind location.
  3. Develop functional success criteria.
  4. Measure outcome-based metrics.

The Last Leap

It is generally welcomed to have stakeholders on a project who are leaders in the company, but you should also seek to have stakeholders who will be using project outputs. If you can form a group of end-user stakeholders, you will then establish a balance in perspectives between business requirements and user needs. Along this same reasoning, project managers may at times want to relocate themselves to be closer to the end-users than to the leadership stakeholders, in order to gain visibility on things that might only come up in formal meetings.

About developing functional success criteria, Korterud says:

To improve the quality of the outputs of a project, document functional success criteria for each requirement. For example, if a requirement states that a process is intended to produce a certain product, also specify performance criteria for the product. This can include functional success criteria such as: “Billing information must be displayed within two seconds for a customer inquiry 99 percent of the time.” Adding functional success criteria will promote end-user satisfaction and overall project quality.

There are metrics for measuring project performance, and there are metrics for measuring the performance of actual outcomes. See to it that you make use of both. You might include things like adoption rates of a new process or evaluating end-user satisfaction. If you would like even more tips on how to make it that last hundred feet, you can read the original post here: http://www.projectmanagement.com/blog/Voices-on-Project-Management/11190/

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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