FTE in Vanda, Finland. I notice that customers are not always so happy although the IT project has been delivered within time, cost and scope.
This has happened to me a few times, and it hits me really bad psychologically although I know I should not take it seriously. I noticed you mentioned on time, cost, and scope. I started off in a System engineering and move into the IT and system development environment. The perspective I start with. I hope the last two items helps you in the future with your state of mind.
The IT projects have lately become multi level, deliveries, where the companies involved including the big consultancies are shuffling the resource and delivery responsibilities further down the resource chain.
The consultants and even the internal workforce are working in an outsourced mode in a chain of resourcing companies , where the work time is hacked up for serving many projects. For a project manager it can be difficult to see behind the scenes with implications on the product delivery. People, especially if they are from different cultural backgrounds, different industries or even different departments of the same company, tend to perceive things differently.
As a result, you may think that you and your counterpart are discussing a scope item using fairly similar language only to discover much later that you had been talking about two completely different things. One of my favorite examples of differing perceptions is the story that took place during Lady Astor's one of the first British female politicians election campaign in Plymouth some time around According to the legend, Viscountess Astor was canvassing for her first parliamentary seat in the port city of Plymouth.
Because of her status and because she was new in town, she was allotted a senior naval officer as her escort. At one point of time during their improvised campaign they approached one of the houses near the port and knocked on the door.
A little girl opened the door and the following exchange took place:. On a more serious note, I once was working on a project to develop a CRM customer relationship management website for a resort booking call center. I was discussing the final details of the system with the Director of Customer Management, a young lady who was not very well-versed in the intricacies of software development. At one point I asked her about the desired system availability or uptime.
I shall choose By the way why would you need that level of uptime? To put it in perspective You misunderstood me, what I wanted is for the system to be up between 9: We don't care what happens to it outside of these times. What happened in our conversation? For me the "best possible availability" of the system meant Whereas for her "best possible availability" meant the system being available only during the working hours Monday to Friday.
Had we not have this discussion, we could have encountered some issues later in the project. What happens if the project manager decides at some point that, since the scope has been documented, reviewed and baselined, the need for active stakeholder management is diminished?
Exhibit 2 illustrates a possible scenario if this happened.. At some point in the project - we called it Point X - the line of communication between the project team and the customers is broken or severely weakened. The customers may think that they have provided all the relevant information, and the project team may decide that spending more time talking to customers distracts them from their active duties.
What happens from that moment on is that an expectations gap starts to appear on the project, a gap between what the customers want and what the project team will deliver. This divergence can occur for a number of reasons, including change in customer preferences, technical abilities of the project team or imperfections in the original scope documentation to name a few. The end result of this process is almost always very sad and disheartening.
Customers show up at the end of the project, inspect the results and find a lot of mistakes, deficiencies and discrepancies between the final product and their own expectations, either real or illusory. So, why do scope changes happen on the projects? No matter how we, project managers dislike unexpected alterations, in many cases they do have a rightful basis. Exhibit 3 lists some of the reasons of why changes can happen on projects along with some relevant examples. Chances that some scope items could be overlooked increase drastically when one compares building a family house with the construction of a modern port terminal.
Not enough time was allotted for proper scope definition or the requirements specialists were not trained properly. Competitors released a new product with new and "cool" features and the company management feels that these features should be added to their own product. Customer realized that a house with a pool, a tennis court and a four-car garage will look more imposing than a house without all these features.
Customer read a trade magazine and discovered that "engineered stone" countertops are more attractive and durable than the laminate countertops. Team member learned about a new technology or saw an interesting feature in the competitor's product and unilaterally decided to tinker with the scope. Much like a miniscule interest rate compounded with necessary frequency can drastically impact the size of one's debt, so uncontrolled changes can lead to a "scope explosion" on the project.
According to Capers Jones an average rate of scope change on projects is two percent per month. We say "at least" because, typically, late changes in the project cost proportionally more than if the same scope items were to be implemented at the beginning of the venture.
A simple implementation of a change control process decreases the monthly growth rate to 0. Exhibit 4 demonstrates various scenarios of monthly scope change rates and annual increases in the scope of the project. As was mentioned earlier, it is a natural instinct of any project manager - including the author of this article - to dislike last-minute scope changes.
Once you have spent copious amounts of time on scoping, scheduling, budgeting and all other related project management tasks, you want to take a deep breath, lean back in your chair and relax for a while as the well-oiled project machine is chugging along destined to deliver great results.
This brings us to a very important question that came up time after time in my class discussions and in conversations with my peers, "Is all change in scope on the project inherently bad? We all know of examples when scope creep has devastated projects, driving them to be late and over budget, or delivering graceless monstrosities that nobody wanted. Having said that, are there any good changes that improve the final outcome? Discovery of a major flaw in the original design, new risks that could not have been foreseen, change in the market conditions - shouldn't we try to address these changes as soon as possible?
The key question for the project manager and the rest of the stakeholders including customers and users is purely economical:. For example, imagine that you are on a multi-day hiking trip. You are not familiar with the area and your friends provided you with a map of the region, warning you that it was fairly outdated.
On the second day of your trip you arrive at the bridge across the mountain river. You discover that the bridge is in a very poor condition and obviously has not been repaired in the last twenty or so years. You and your hiking buddies are carrying some heavy equipment and there is a small chance that the bridge will not support your weight; you will plunge from the height of feet right onto a cluster of giant boulders.
However, according to the map, there is another bridge 10 miles north of the first one. If your party chooses to change their itinerary and cross the river via the other bridge, the length of your journey will increase by 20 miles 10 miles in each direction. Would a sensible person accept the modification in plans and go looking for the other bridge or reject the change and proceed across the fragile one?
I am fairly sure most people would choose the first option since the value of protecting one's life is definitely higher than the twenty-mile hike and any other inconveniencies associated with it. Let's alter the scenario a little bit. The bridge in this scenario is still in bad condition but it crosses a very calm shallow creek.
The distance between the bridge and the water surface is a couple of feet. Consequently the worst case scenario for you and your friends is that you would be forced to take a cold bath. What would an average person do in this case? The responses may vary, but I strongly suspect that the majority of people would prefer to cross the bridge because in this scenario the value of keeping yourself dry is less than the costs of an additional twenty-mile hike. It should be fairly evident by now that "little" enhancements and improvements, if left unattended, can wreak major chaos on any given project.
The history of project management contains many examples - see the beginning of this article - when scope creep had a disastrous effect on projects.
Having said that, announcing to all the stakeholders after completion of the scope definition phase that the project requirements are henceforth frozen is imprudent and impractical. As mentioned earlier, not all the changes are inherently bad. A much better approach would be to:.
The proper execution of the last point can be facilitated by using a proper change control process. When implementing scope change control, try to avoid complicated procedures; scope management should be as simple and efficient as possible. Keep in mind that if the process is too complicated and cumbersome, the stakeholders will almost always find some creative ways to circumvent it.
This is usually accomplished by communicating and sometimes applying political pressure directly to the project technical team, thus removing the project manager from the equation completely.
Quality is included almost as an afterthought. If the customer is dissatisfied, then every aspect of your project should be marked with a red light. Possibly even flashing red to ensure that it isn't missed by anyone, ever. Picture this similar scenario. You and your partner decide to go out for a meal. You plan the date, set your budget and research a good place to eat.
What opinion do you have at the end? And yet with a little more focus on the customer, the experience could have been so much more different. When you arrived, if you had been told that there had been a price increase and that the food may take longer as they were really busy, then immediately your expectations would have changed and you would have a decision to make.
Independent Assurance on ICT projects: If you decide to eat elsewhere, then you have made that choice based on the information that you have.
If you decide to stay, you know more or less what to expect. Projects, of course, start out with the best of intentions. They are driven by the customer and they are involved at the start when their requirements are being gathered.
Customer satisfaction refers to the extent to which customers are happy with the products and services provided by a business. Customer satisfaction levels can be measured usi ng survey techniques and questionnaires. Gaining high levels of customer satisfaction is very important to a business because satisfied customers are most likely to be loyal and to make repeated orders and to use a wide range .
Part 1: Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Definition of Consumer Satisfaction: The satisfaction of customer is considered as the popular topic at the practice on marketing and the research as academic in view of the fact that the primary study of Cardozo's () on the effort of customers, their expectations and along with the satisfaction of them.
Knowing that the satisfaction of the customer was as important as the time, scope and budget ensured that no activity was undertaken without the collaboration and decision-making input of the customer. Once the project moves into the execution phase, scope and customer expectations management become one of the key responsibilities of the project manager. Management of customer expectations is needed because people are not always logical and may have differing perceptions. Team members should also be controlled in order to avoid "gold plating".
The SCOPE of customer relationship management customer satisfaction is the the emerging capabilities of customer relationship management systems enabling both reading as well as writing in. Customer Satisfaction with the results of any project depends upon an up-front understanding of the Customer's needs and agreement with the Customer on how the project will address those needs. A precise, accurate, and comprehensive Scope of Work is essential to accomplishing these ends.