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10 Surprising Ways to Make Your Project Customers Happy

Project customers are like moviegoers. They will rave gratefully about a blockbuster release of products, services, or results. However, give them a bad or rehashed sequel and you’ll certainly start to see negative reviews. In a post at his blog, Harry Hall walks us through the 10 ways to avoid disappointing your customers in successive releases.

(1-5) Project Integrity

First off, you’ll want to clarify your project goals. Don’t produce a new release just because “they liked the last one so much.” That mentality is a trap to avoid at all costs. At the opposite end, be careful not to morph a project into something it was never meant to be. Retain focus on what the customer originally wanted or liked. Maintain the project’s integrity. Then again, users, like moviegoers, don’t always know what they want. Be wary and use a good BA (business analyst) to determine wants from needs. Funding is also a perennial problem with sequels as with projects. Get the appropriate stakeholders on board or risk losing the whole shebang. One obvious step is to read the reviews of your previous work. Give the customer prototypes to work with. What would a movie be without pre-screenings and concept trailers?

(6-7) Change Management

If you’ve got your sponsors on board, that’s great. The challenge is to keep them on board. Many a project / movie goes off track when funding and support run dry mid-production. As in all things IT and cinema, change will occur to basic requirements in budget and schedule. Maybe a key actor / employee leaves just before product completion. Prepare accordingly and inform project stakeholders.

(8) Work Breakdown

Every movie set has something akin to a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) that involves both estimates and schedules that are approved by a sponsor. IT is no different.

(9) Customer Conflict

One source of conflict occurs when an IT resource creates a bias towards ease of production for IT (like when a movie uses too much CGI to handle tricky scenes). Prepare for customer backlash against corner-cutting tactics.

(10) Complex Environments

Finally, don’t underestimate the challenges in a matrix environment. In other words, having two bosses (the functional manager and project manager) can raise the same problems actors face when dealing with a separate director and producer.

Read the original blog at:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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