As a project person, one important part of the project management process is the project closure. You will often hear that one of the basic criteria of a successful project is acceptance. Once a project is accepted by the client and stakeholders, you can smile to the bank or possibly be looking at recommendations from your client as well as referrals from your satisfied client. However, if that is not the case, it means your client was not satisfied with your work. Oops! welcome to the pitfall zone. But as a project manager how can you avoid these projects pitfalls? here are my recommendations. By exploring the different aspect of the this include the different phase of a project as possible setback future pitfall can be explored.
Defining your project Scope: Managing clients expectations can be trickery, in as much as they have a picture of what the end project of a project or product would be over promising and over delivery is one pitfall to avoid. If your project involved providing electrical fittings for a building project, if the installation of this appliance is not within your project scope, avoid “being nice” decline to accept the responsibility of a project that is not within your scope. This is because eventually if the is a problem especially with electrical connections or appliance that eventually burnt the whole project be sure to be named as one of the persons responsible for the project failing. But, if you think you can challenge your client and provide better services, please do this it is better to protect both your self and the company you work for.
Challenging the Project Scope: Sometimes you are tempted to go with your gut feeling. One time during a client briefing session of one of the events I have worked on in the past, the client wanted specific colors for her decoration, she wanted a lot of brown that I thought was too much. However, I thought to my self they say “The customer is always right” I wrong this time around, during the implementation phase a day to the event she showed up at the venue screaming at the design team and asking why they had so much brown in the floral design I simply thought, but you requested this design during your client briefing. At the end of the event, she gave us no recommendation, no feedback or what so ever. We did not need a soothsayer to remind us we just entered the pitfall zone.
Documentation: If you have worked on large projects with the different company managing the different aspect of a project, especially building or construction project you will come to understand the importance of documentation. When a project has been concluded, it is very difficult to get people to commit afterward. So, if you do not state who is responsible for what in your project closure documentation phase, you will be solely responsible for not identifying and assigning work to the right people.
Communication: I am not sure which one create more damage, wrong communication or no communication at all. A single glitch in communication process would definitely result in project pitfall. I worked on a project once and during the briefing, a client had two events taking place at the same place but one earlier and another an hour later. However, the client only wanted us to coordinate the latter event. On arriving at the venue it was obviously there was no coordination and it was also poorly organized, but since my team was not briefed about the earlier event it was not our responsibility. The client did not inform us because they thought asking us to oversee the event would attract an extra cost. In the end, we could not avoid the pitfall, but there was a lesson we learned from the project. Always ask again and again if a client needs additional services, they may be not want to pay more or are constrained by budget but it would help you as a project manager not only to avoid the pitfall, you also do not want yourself or company to be associated with bad projects or bad service delivery.