At McGlaun Consulting, we are always looking for ways to improve how we manage projects. One of the first steps we take when starting a new engagement is determining what we can we do as an organization to help our clients meet their business requirements on time and budget. After we complete a project, we hold an internal post-mortem meeting to evaluate our performance during the engagement and to identify what we did well and where there are opportunities for improvement. We also have a “lessons learned” session with our clients to capture their perspective of our performance and reexamine any issues, delays, or misaligned expectations. By gathering this information, we can reevaluate our internal business processes and improve the way we manage future projects.
We have these post-mortem review sessions in place to make sure that we are delivering high-quality services to our clients, but in some situations, they reveal issues that can be attributed to the client. Many companies operate in silos and have lengthy or disjointed internal approval processes. When delays are experienced, it is often due to this breakdown in communication even when the request is less than complex. In some cases, the client may not have the infrastructure in place to effectively implement new software without roadblocks. There are also times that we have to wait for a decision to be made because team members within the organization are not sure who is responsible for approving the request. It is crucial for clients to understand their internal business processes well enough to clearly define the requirements for an engagement. These issues can potentially lead to “scope creep” which is a term we use to describe when a client requests for tasks to be completed that were not included in the initial Statement of Work or Project Plan.
If an organization works in silos, what can be done to cut the red tape and get things done? If the correct infrastructure isn’t in place, we may need to notify our customers of technical requirements upfront or earlier in the process. If we are not receiving a response regarding a request, then we may need to identify the executive sponsor and keep him or her well informed during the project. To avoid scope creep, we may need to work with our client to turn every stone during a Discovery Workshop to capture all requirements and ensure that we are not missing pertinent information. While clients have a responsibility to manage the project from within their organization and provide the resources required for successful performance within a timely manner, McGlaun Consulting is dedicated to helping drive success by supporting our client’s key stakeholders.
Projects are a partnership between the consulting team and the client. Just as we use the post-mortem meeting to improve our internal processes and performance, we also use the information gathered to improve how we can help our customers overcome their own obstacles.
Steve Margulis is the Director of Customer Success at McGlaun Consulting.