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The Missing Link in Your Project Process


We are project managers. We know the importance of establishing a proper process to manage our project. It is a matter of effectiveness: We want to achieve the results. It is also a matter of efficiency: We want to use the most optimal process.

Choosing and establishing the best processes for your project is an important step in managing your project. Let’s take the world of software development. The process can include many steps, such as these:

  • Obtaining business requirements
  • Creating a system design
  • Developing the solution
  • Internal testing
  • User acceptance testing
  • Deployment to production

But in establishing the process, there is often a missing component that can make the whole application development fail. And we know that the rate of failure is high in software development. What is this missing component?

The Disconnect in Process

Let me ask you a question: Does your client understand your process?

You may be surprised how important that common understanding is for the success of the project. Why does it matter that much? After all, you are the expert in software development, and they want the new application. You are paid to build it and you will. Isn’t that sufficient?

While it is true that the client should rely on your expertise, it is not enough. There is a key component that the client must know and care about. The success of your project will often depend on that. If the client doesn’t understand the process well, it will create significant confusion and bad decisions. This misalignment will be a significant threat to the project, putting it at risk of failing.

Clients Are Like Patients

Clients must understand the process. After all, it is their application, and their team will be involved throughout the process, from analyzing their requirements to final testing. Even more important, it is their employees who will live with the final product. You do not need to give a comprehensive course in software development. However, you need to ensure that they understand enough process to support it and play their role correctly. Sharing a minimum level of knowledge is essential, just like it is good for a patient to have a general understanding of a medical procedure. The patient needs to understand in general what will happen, why, and what he or she has to do.

It is the same in software development. It is a major project risk if the client does not understand the software development process. It is a key diagnostic that should be done early in the planning phase of the project because it will influence the project plan. A client that is very used to this type of project will be more likely to do the right thing at the right time, to do his or her parts and ask the right questions. A client that is not knowledgeable about the process can derail the project easily. Such clients will likely have unrealistic expectations.

It is your job as part of the process to ensure that the client has that appropriate level of understanding of the process. Being a good communicator is a key skill for a project management.


For more brilliant insights, check out Michel’s website: Project-Aria

Additionally, check out his book, Leadership Toolbox for Project Managers: Achieve better results in a dynamic world:

About Michel Dion

Michel Dion is a CPA and PMP, living in Ottawa, Canada with his wife and 2 kids. He also has a certification in Internal Audit (CIA), Risk Management (CRMA) and Fraud (CFE). Michel has managed in his career many projects, including special initiatives and emergency projects. He is developing a website called Project-Aria, and is very active in the project management community on the web. The key areas of focus of Project-Aria are project management, leadership, productivity, mind and health, and career and training. He has loved technology since the moment he played on the TRS80 a while ago. Despite that, his two sons insist that they know more about technology than him. Sometimes, he will comment on other subjects, as he likes fitness, travel, chess, photography, and music. He also has a goal of mastering four languages: English, French, Spanish and Swedish. Pay Michel a visit at Project-Aria by clicking the button below.

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