Balancing the communication of a project and managing risks while maintaining client satisfaction can be a difficult balance. If it doesn’t seem like your customer is enjoying the process, that doesn’t mean the project is going poorly. It also doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing anything wrong or that your team is under-performing. Some customers are harder to please than others. Proper risk management is a crucial part in obtaining your client’s satisfaction. Below are 5 tips to assist you with navigating through the delicate balance of effective risk management while maintaining your project client’s satisfaction.
Keep the risk planning going.
Even though we all really know that risk planning and management needs to happen throughout the engagement, so many times we either skip it entirely (content to manage risks as issues along the way) or we perform risk planning once at the beginning of the project and then store it away. Here’s a new option…treat it as a living breathing piece of the project and discuss those documented risks during each status call and reassess their status. Don’t spend two hours doing this – spend 10-15 minutes each week, tops.
Define uncertainty as a risk.
Every project has uncertainty. When you don’t know if that vendor is going to deliver on time, document it as a risk and start tracking it so you’re better prepared to react to it. When the project is only partially funded from the start, know that there will soon come a time when you have to revisit pricing and funding and the project could go on hold. These are uncertainties and therefore real risks to your project. Track them…discuss them.
Be sure the team skills fit the project – don’t wait to find that out later.
Project managers – if you are given any opportunity to screen project team members as they are onboarded to your project, do so. 98% of the time you’re probably fine, but those 2% where you’re not – where there is a bad mismatch in skills versus need – you are going to wish you had screened them before putting them in front of your important project customer.
Show some political savvy on the project – negotiate for success.
Negotiation to get resources, dollars and cooperation can be a constant struggle. Yet most of us find ourselves doing it here and there on nearly every project engagement we manage, right? Come on, you know who you are. So get good at the skill of negotiating. It is an art form and a definite skill you need to master. For example, when you want a resource, be ready to negotiate with your resource gatekeeper – either on timing or duration of that resources time with your project. Sometimes you can wait or take what is given to you, and then sometimes you need the best and you need that person now. The ability to negotiate – possibly trade a resource around on another project you are overseeing in order to get what you want from the resource gatekeeper – can make a difference between success and failure on your project.
Make sure the infrastructure supports the remote project workers well.
A good IT support infrastructure is important no matter what. But in today’s world of bring your own device (BYOD) and remote workers and teams – like project managers and geographically dispersed project delivery teams worldwide – the need for top-notch IT support is higher than ever. The ability to get something taken care of by support by for our project team members in need out in the field quickly – whether they are onsite with the customer or working from their home office in Norway – is critical.
Summary / call for input
Our goal is always to be successful on our projects. This is just five more on a list of ten I have now presented. What would you add to or change about this list or the last one? Please share your thoughts and let’s discuss.