Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

When Project Management is a Four Letter Word

~ By Brad Egeland

Businessman holding a board with Project Manager written on it

Most project managers add incredible value to the engagement. I, personally, could not imagine a project run without that kind of leadership. In my mind, it would be a disorganised mess. I hope that most of the clients that I have run projects for would agree with this statement.

However, what happens when you have those customers who, for whatever reason, aren't fond of project managers? Maybe they don't see the value in paying for a PM. Maybe they had a bad experience with an ineffective project manager on a recent engagement. Maybe they have their own PM and see no need for two, or maybe they are just extremely budget-conscious and are afraid the PM position will charge unnecessary time for the effort.

Whatever the reason, we have a customer who is not fond of us - even though they don't really know us. What do we do?

I've had this happen…and here is my recommendation if it happens to you:

Don't take it personally. Never take it too personally. Your customer doesn't know you…yet. He or she is acting on a perceived fear, a concern, or a bad experience from another project manager. Be pleasant, not defensive; communicate well, and listen carefully to what they are saying so as to look for needs┬áthat you and your team can tend to.

Look for ways to add value to the engagement without adding too much cost. Manage remotely. Don't go to the customer's site unless absolutely necessary (thus keeping travel costs down), and look for ways to provide detailed status reporting because that is a very cost effective way to keep your customer well informed unobtrusively.

Manage the team well. Keep the team in check. Show the customer that you are on top of everything - including your team. When the customer perceives that the project manager is maintaining good control of his team and the project, that's when they start seeing great value from the PM.

Communicate. I can't stress enough the value of good project manager communication on every project. It is the number one priority for the PM, and not all are great at it…so do your best to master the art of communication. And over-communicate with the customer because the more informed they feel, the more satisfied they tend to be, and the more value they see from you.

The bottom line is this: As project managers, we can add considerable value to any project engagement. We can do it by being everywhere and doing everything. That seems to be the norm rather than the exception. However, when our project customer is not a "project manager friendly" project customer, we can also do it by staying out of the way. It may frustrate us, and it may make us feel insignificant or possibly even a bit out of the loop, but the main concern should always be, "what makes the customer happy?" If they are never going to see the full value of the PM, then we may need to lessen our role…and that's OK…this one time.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
What is the next number: 12, 14, 16, ..?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

Seven Key Principles of Project Management

Hand holding a key with success written on the fob

If you're looking for guidance to help you manage your project with added confidence, then this article will help you.

Managing The Project Time

Man pointing at an alarm clock

Project managers should know the iron triangle of project management, sometimes called the triple constraints of project management, because all projects are constrained by these elements.

Helping Project Teams Succeed

Business team brainstorming using coloured labels on a table in an office

Project teams will be successful when the right environmental conditions exist; sadly this is not always the case.

Agile Through the Waterfall

Agile and waterfall tag cloud

Many organisations have adopted Agile practices into their development methodologies and they have proved to be successful for the organisation as a whole.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Philip VonSteinmann commented on…
A Brief History of Project Management | Project Smart
- Wed 8 July 3:34am

Michael Contorno-Hubbard commented on…
Better Coaching Using the GROW Model
- Fri 26 June 2:09pm

Arnel Dela Cruz commented on…
Use Your Whole Brain: Leveraging Right-Brained Thinking in a Left-Brained World
- Wed 24 June 7:16am

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Re: What are the best remote working tips these days? https://t.co/rncJH3IyhU about 5 days ago

General Project Management • Re: What are the best remote working tips these days? https://t.co/6lAUs5iU8E about 5 days ago

General Project Management • Re: What are the best remote working tips these days? https://t.co/ZwSkgfQXPA about 5 days ago