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Treat Me as a Client

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Dealing with vendors and customers provides a very good example of the peculiarities of human behavior.

As a project manager, you may feel obliged whenever you do anything for your customer. But when it comes to vendors you perhaps put yourself in a position above them and treat them differently.

Take this example:

In the IT industry we have a software engineering process group (SEPG) and software quality assurance group (SQAG) responsible for ensuring the implementation of Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) processes.

Project teams follow the groups' instructions and do whatever is required to clear an audit. Once the organization clears the audit and receives a certification, no one cares about the processes anymore because of the following reasons:

1.    The project team feels unnecessary extra work was pushed on them by the SEPG/SQAG groups and the project team just wanted to be done with it.
2.    The project team feels that they are doing a favor to SEPG/SQAG by implementing the processes rolled out by them, and the SEPG/SQAG feels otherwise.

The best way to keep a sustainable process model is to mentor project teams about the importance of processes to their project. This compare to what we do with our client -- we work as a trusted advisor, providing consultation at each step.

When it comes to an internal project we start treating internal teams as a vendor and ask them to do whatever we need, it doesn't matter if it really adds any value to them. My suggestion SQAG/SEPG teams is that you shall treat the project teams as your client and act as a trusted advisor to them.

This is the only way you can have a sustainable model.

 

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9 Comments

I provide customer support for the project management software company Same-Page.com. While providing training webinars to potential administrators and corporate stakeholders, I always stress that in today's business world each company is in essence a "business ecosystem."

It is necessary to consider ALL the collaborative parties to this optimize the project's results. Cloud-based Project Management Software can provide the real-time, visual tools can keep everybody involved (vendors, freelancers, consultants, executives, engineers and workers) on the same page.

Although the article below was written for "designers" the information holds true for most: http://www.same-page.com/Taking%20Advantage%20of%20Flat%20Earth%20Technology%20to%20Build%20Virtual%20Teams.html

Most of the managers do not have Emotional Quotient (EQ) or have very low. Lower EQ can lead to poor delivery, lot of negative energy. I have worked and working as vendor. But treatment we get is unacceptable, far worse than any discrimination. I have addressed this issue to my management but they are having one goal is treat customer like GOD. Which leads us to a bad state.

Good post! A project team should be considered as a client and as one of the stakeholders to address needs, expectations and concern for achieving set project goals. Most large companies can perform multiple functions, are active in more than one line of business, and operate in multiple countries.

For many companies, such complexity leads to serious internal conflicts, slow decision making, duplication of costs, and a silo mentality. For all the attention given to crafting a smart strategy, most organizations lag far behind in the ability to execute strategies. Bringing about alignment and coordination in complex organizations is one of the most important challenges facing managers today.

The IMD OWP 2010 will present the central principles of managing complex organizations and then guide managers to apply these principles to their own companies.

Good point. I think that bringing all together: people, resources, tasks and so on in one place is the answer. There are beautiful solutions out-there. Project templates are a good tool to start with.

For example:
http://www.clarizen.com/ProjectPlanTemplate.aspx

I fully agree that project teams are to be considered as a client and as one of the stakeholder to address their needs, expectations and concern for achieving set project goals.

For any Project, audit is must and required documentaion to authenticate the verification of scope.

True. Very True.

In fact, many of the companies treat local clients as at a lower grade compared to international clients (more money flow from international arena)

Include colleague also in the discussion. Not only customers and vendors, we need to have concern for colleagues also. Treat colleagues also as customer for any work on hand, the outlook completely changes and the real professionalism shows up.

Venkateswar P Oruganti PMP

Actually, it is unfortunate we treat vendors badly. It is as bad as gender discrimination. We should treat vendors as we treat customers. Making this as an example is equally bad. Without vendors we don't exist. Just as we don't exist without customers. I believe many organisations have this feudalistic mentality when it comes to vendors.

Similarly sales are treated also badly. Unless the salesmen displays his wears we don't know what is available in the market. We also have to treat the sales men better. It is time the corporate world learns to respect vendors and sales equally as your customers and as your sales team. Just as we promise our selves towards gender equality we should also take an oath that we treat vendors as we would the clients.

I totally agree with your point. One of the most common complaints that project teams have against the auditors is the additional paperwork. Besides meeting their project deliverables, the team is required to file additional reports, derive statistics and graphs to show compliance.

Thinking of it from the auditors perspective, it is imperative to bring all the project teams on the same platform for evaluation. In case of System Integrators (IT companies), it is very common that projects are managed as per the methodology specified by the respective clients. Hence, different projects follow different methodologies, reports, documentation templates etc.

The challenge is to measure and compare all these projects, by bringing them on the same platform. That's where the additional paperwork comes in, to achieve 'normalization' across projects.

That's one of the challenges we face.

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