We all are aware that a project manager should follow the typical project management process that includes planning, organizing, securing and managing resources to get the desired outcomes. Apart from following these steps, a project manager needs to focus on maintaining a good relationship and maintain the right communication both with his customers and the in-house team for the successful execution of a project. Let’s see how:
Understand your customer’s style: For successful project management, understand your customer’s style. Don’t have one approach for all customers. Some of the things you need to think about are:
- E-mail vs. phone: Customers prefer to communicate either by e-mail or phone. You need to know about their comfort level and preferred mode of communication.
- Flexible vs. rigid: They may be quite flexible or very rigid.
- Anxious vs. calm: They may be the anxious type, forcing you to communicate with them every day or they may be calm.
- New vs. old: They may be new or old, You must take extra care to understand the working style and preferences of new customers.
- Current tensions: You may have some tensions with customers. If you are already in a tense situation, don’t think of asking for more time. Just think of getting things done and get out of the particular situation. You don’t want to worsen your relationship anymore.
Set right expectations: It is very important that a project manager sets expectations very clearly at the beginning of a project. Don’t be in a rush like and don’t over commit. It is always better to under-commit and over-deliver. Reset expectations early if needed, instead of waiting till the last moment. If today something is due, don’t tell the customers today that you are not sending it to them. It is not a good practice. Instead, try to give at least 75% according to plan even when you are negotiating a change, or just apologize and say that you can only give 20%. Negotiate on priorities. If you have to reshuffle your deliverables, ask them which is of greater importance to them.
Be honest: Always be honest, don’t lie to your customers. Don’t make up stories and don’t tell them you’ll give them their project tomorrow when you are not going to do so. Customers really value honesty, they prefer that you are honest with them than not. This is the key to building trust and credibility. You want them to trust you and you want them to believe you when you commit handing over their completed project to them.
Internal communication and relationships: Understand the domain i.e. the field that you are working in. Understand your teams and build strong relationships with them. Like project managers touch everybody’s lives, what you do affects everybody, right? So, build strong relationships with them. You might want to have one-on-one time with people. The better your relationships, the better the work is going to be.
Keep stakeholders informed: If you are in trouble, please inform your higher authorities. You need to get help. Don’t wait till the last minute because it puts everybody in a bad light and will affect your future business.
So, you must think of all these things. Relationships and communication are the two most important aspects of work, particularly in Project Management.