How you view your projects is really a matter of perspective. What frame are you looking at your projects through?
Is it constructive?
Does is make it easier for the team to function?
Or does it increase the level of frustration?
Being effective may mean you need to change your approach to managing the project. You may be focused on completing the project a certain way, but your customer has a very different idea of what ‘success’ looks like. To effectively navigate your way through the project’s lifecycle, you may find the idea of ‘project success sliders’, taken from Rob Thompson’s Radical Project Management to be useful.
From Thompson’s point of view, there are 7 criteria that your project can be judged as successful on:
- Have Satisfied Stakeholders
- Meet the Project’s Objectives/ requirements
- Meet an Agreed Budget – resources/ capital/ equipment
- Deliver the product on time
- Add value to the organization
- Meet Quality Requirements
- Have a sense of professional satisfaction for the team
Whether they’ve been upfront about it or not, your customers know where their project sits for each criterion, ranging from 0 to 10 (critical). They also know how each criterion is prioritized amongst the seven. Is delivering the project on time more important than meeting the budget or ensuring that the team has a sense of professional satisfaction?
Do you think the customer is at a 6 when it comes to meeting your project’s objectives, but more of a 2 on Deliver the project on time?
And which criterion is more important at this time?
In some cases, you may be able to discern their perspective, in others, it might not be a bad idea to discuss how they rate and rank these.
If you’re feeling frustrated, it may be an indication that your understanding of the project and their gauge of how the project should be proceeding are not aligned. You may feel strongly that it’s important to meet the Quality requirements, but the customer is dealing with internal stakeholders it wants to keep happy and some project objectives that make delivering on all three criteria an impossible task.
It might be time to adjust your sliders and manage your project so that you keep your stakeholders happy. True stakeholder management is not just delivering the project on time, “it is to involve and engage stakeholders in value creation.”* If you are not aligned on how to approach the project, it will be virtually impossible to work with your stakeholders to create value.
Try out Thompson’s Success sliders. Let me know how it goes, leave a comment or send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.