Add technical oversight and effort where needed
If you’re the project manager and you bring some technical skills to the table, use those when possible to fill in gaps. I was onsite with my team at one major airline customer for a software install and I found myself doing data loads between meetings because our team was small and our time was short. It helped and we were able to meet our deadline for deployment.
Act as the ambassador for your project. Want to make the customer feels more important? Lobby your project to senior management and get them involved. A visit by the CEO or some other high ranking individual in your organization at a future project status meeting will let the customer know the project is important to your company and that they are an important customer who is being taken seriously. If you have recently experienced any issues that have resulted in some customer frustration, this can go along way in mending the situation.
Close budget management should seem like a no-brainer, but so many project managers do this poorly. It’s your client’s money and if you make it a priority to closely track it and re-forecast it and report on it continually throughout the project you’ll be ensuring that your project never gets far off track financially without it being known to everyone. Your customer will see the value in that oversight and feel much more comfortable with the project and how their money is being spent on project resources if they are included in that reporting process.
Track risks carefully
This is another area that seems logical but is often overlooked. Some risks are usually identified upfront and then set aside as if the process is over. Instead of going that dangerous route, include a section in the weekly project status report for risk management. If risks are constantly in front of the team and the customer and even better – actually assigned to team members to keep track of – then the likelihood of something unexpected bringing the project to a halt is greatly decreased.
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About the author: Brad Egeland is an IT/PM & Business Strategy consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit his website at www.bradegeland.com.