Project Management

Giving Proper PM Oversight on the Project

The customer is king when it comes to project success. According to Brad Egeland of Project Smart, a project manager who doesn’t acknowledge this basic fact upfront will certainly know before long. From the customer’s perspective, it’s all about finding the highest value for the lowest cost. To this end, Egeland brings up an excellent point:

As project managers, full responsibility for the project's success rests on our shoulders, even when things beyond our control affect that success. Often times we're the highest priced resource on the project, so many times the customer sees us as the hardest expense to justify.

A Week in Customer Satisfaction

In pursuit of customer satisfaction (and the PM retaining his or her job) Egeland recommends adhering to the following four conventions.

1. Calls: Let the customer know that things are under control by leading the weekly customer calls. Project team managers should get fast feedback in the form of documentation regarding issues, action items, or anything the customer needs to be aware of.

2. Reports: In advance of the customer call, both customers and project teams should get a status report that lends context to the call. This ensures that when the call happens, the report is ready to be reviewed and/or updated.  

3. Plans: Concurrently with the report, the project plan should be revisited, revised and delivered in .mpp or .pdf formants (users without MS Project might not otherwise be able to view the document). If you’re a PM on top of your game, this plan should ideally be updated daily, but the ‘official’ version goes to the customer along with the weekly status report.

4. Registers: At a project’s inception, it pays to address the potential risks involved. Egeland recommends using Excel as a register. Along with considerations of risk are the impacts associated with timelines and budgets, in addition to mitigation measures to be taken if the discussed risks are realized.

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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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