Project Management 101

Friday, September 08, 2006

PM Dumb Things ! - No. 1: Surprise the Customer

Its been awhile since I posted any new articles to this blog. I thought its about time I should say something about the dumbest things project teams and project managers to do wreck their projects.

Here we go, Dumb Thing No. 1. - Surprise the Customer

I was on my way to a project kick off one morning with my team and my manager calls for a pre-briefing before the kickoff.

I have the plan all nicely setup, the customer was happy and they have the budget and resourcing all lined up.

My manager informs me that there will be a change of plan in the resource availability for one of my team members - BANG ! It hit me right in the face and I started to think what to say and how to face the customer with a last minute change like this.

The kick off starts, and I start the meeting with the Big Bang news. Wrong move I must say.

The Customer PM is upset and tells me how he hates last minute changes. Now he has to justify changes to the plan, contract, budget, resourcing, and all the 3-Constraint ripple effect you can think of.

We carry on with the rest of the meeting, and ended on a low note, with the Customer PM telling me that he can handle changes, even last minute changes, but he needs to be informed well before hand, before the meeting and not to surprise him like how I did.

Lesson Learned: Avoid Giving Surprises to the Customer.
I guess this applies to Project Managers like us as it becomes a wild card when managing projects, when we keep getting surprises. Well, we can employ our Risk Management techniques to find workarounds to surprises, however, we definitely dont want to upset our relationship with our customers, and jeopardise the project in any way.

Know the pitfalls and Have a Great Journey to Project Success Always,
Ramesh Jude Pachamuthu, PMP, CITPM