Using Project Management Software to Manage your Clients Expectations
“What have you done for me lately? Seriously, what have you done for me lately?” This classic client question is something that has been heard since the beginning of commerce and will be heard as long as business is conducted. It’s not that your company has done a bad job, it’s just the dynamics of rising expectations has kicked in.
This dynamic comes to the fore when someone who has been pleased with previous results, expects at least similar results in the future, if not even better ones.
We are all wired that way. Competition in the marketplace has trained us all to expect more results for less money. We become dissatisfied if our rising expectations are not met and we decide to move onto someone or something else.
It happens all the time. It’s not that your insurance provider or cell phone provider has done a bad job, it’s just that you’ve heard how great another company was and you want to try them out.
This normal attrition can be prevented if you are a project manager that works with outside clients. You just need to have an answer to their question “what have you done for me lately?” Better yet, you can preemptively answer their question before they even ask it! How?
First, a brief explanation of the type of relationship that is ideal for using web project management software:
The perfect type of relationship where you can truly answer the question “what have you done for me lately” is a client relationship that extends over a long period of time. This is the type of relationship that spans months, maybe even years. It allows for the conversation to take place time and again… about what has been done lately and the progress that has been achieved over time.
4 Things You Can Do to Utilize Project Management Software to Manage Your Clients Expectations
1. Keep a Log of ALL Successes
The first thing you need to do in utilizing your web project management software is to keep a log of ALL successes. Notice we stressed ALL successes? Regardless of how big or how small these successes are you will want to capture them and store them in a safe place for later use.
What constitutes a success? Anything that has been done on behalf of a client that helped move their project or company forward. This could be the completion of a new software application, business process improvement initiative, or something that was done that helped increase sales, lower costs, or a little of both.
What is the best way to capture these successes? Some project managers feel as if they will be able to remember all that was done on the client’s behalf if they sit down and write things out 2-3 months after the fact. That doesn’t work. You’ll sit down and stare at a blank piece of paper for 30 minutes before you scribble out a meager 1 or 2 accomplishments.
The best thing to do is set up a file in your web project management software where you can write yourself a quick note as to what was just accomplished. Or, you can send yourself an email with a code in the subject line like WIN:[project success] that automatically gets filed in a folder for later review.
2. Discover as Many ROI Numbers as Possible
For example, was there an increase in sales as a result of the project that was implemented? How much faster was a particular task or activity able to be accomplished as a result of your project? What type of savings were realized from your project coming to completion at your client’s site?
You may have to dig for these numbers a bit. Sometimes the client doesn’t even think about projects this way. They just know it was something that needed to get done. However, you should always wear your business hat and look for the value that was derived from the implementation of your projects. Record these findings in your web project management software or send yourself an email similar to the success emails from above.
3. Create a Sequence of Success Timeline
For example, map out 6 months of activity that started in January and ended in June. Put a note on the timeline (in January) of the project that was completed. Next to it, include the business result in the form of an ROI. Do this for success after success and spread it across the entire 6 months on the timeline. NOTE: There doesn’t have to be and ROI for everything.
Perhaps one of the successes was that the two teams were able to meet together for 2 days and hash out a great many details for the next project. This is an important activity to record, as it feeds into the success and result of what followed. There’s not a direct ROI from this event, but the fruition of the ROI was realized as a result of a subsequent project.
If you’ve recorded these successes and ROIs in your web project management software program you can pull this list together quickly and easily.
4. Take a Walk Through the Forest
The final thing you need to do then is request a meeting with your client and walk through the forest with them. What does that mean? This is your opportunity to walk away from the minutiae and day-to-day grind of the ongoing projects (aka “the trees”) and take a look at the big picture (aka “the forest”). This is an excellent opportunity to reflect on all those things that have been accomplished over the past 3 – 6 months. NOTE: Longer than 3-6 months is not recommended as some of the “trees” may have died during that time and the forest may not look quite as lush.
You need to make sure the right people are walking through the forest with you. You want to ensure the people you work with on a daily basis are present. But, you also want to invite their bosses and go up the corporate ladder to the highest possible executive that it makes sense to have in attendance. They’ll be able to get a good feeling for the direction, momentum, and successes that have occurred over the recent time period that is being covered.
This preemptive type of meeting does a couple of things…
- Whenever someone internally brings up the question “what have you done for me lately?” their peers from the same company can be the ones that give them the answer on your behalf.
- It also affords the opportunity to review and revise any current projects that are underway, to ensure they still make sense to pursue. Finally, the goodwill that this type of proactive meeting creates is priceless.
Utilize your web project management software to keep up with the information you’ll need to put such a timeline together. The next time your client asks you “what have you done for me lately” you can ask if they would like their answer in alphabetical order or chronologically!
Try ProjectManager.com FREE for 30 days and have your team contribute to the timeline! The collaborative features of ProjectManager.com allow for you to keep your files in one place, share them with your team, access them anywhere and at anytime, as well as keep different versions of the same document. Your team can input what they feel was a success and you can use this for input for your next walk in the forest!