Posted on July 25, 2012 · Posted in Communication, Decisions

Proper understanding of your project is necessary to ensure success. The success of a project can be easily defined by meeting your deadline and finishing under budget. However, as a project manager you must take in account the customer’s reaction and keep that in mind during the life cycle of the project. You need to understand the customer’s needs and to make sure that your project delivers just that. When you start out a project you need to look at some key factors.

First, you should take the time upfront to understand the need of the customer and establish that before the start of the project. You should then implement goals that your team needs to reach in order to meet the customers’ needs. Of course there will be variables in the project and unforeseen conflicts that will arise, like every project, however, you should map out all possible variables and resolutions to them as much as possible. Part of the role of a project manager is to analyze these issues up front before they become real fires.

For example, a project may be designing a custom textbook for a particular education course. By understanding students and their needs, you can analyze, set goals, problem solve, and make decisions along the way with the customer, or students, in this case, in mind. Let’s say that the custom book you are designing is a biology or scientific textbook. Since science textbooks often come with a number of vital terms, a project manager may identify that a proper glossary or index is maintained through the life of the project. Ultimately, by knowing that the custom book is directed and will land in the hands of a student who is taking a difficult science course up front, a project manager is able to make decisions based on this.

You should always measure and report the three standard measures of a successful project. The first to make sure that the project is completed on time. This can be achieved by following a rigid time table and by making sure all milestones within a project are met and are met on time. Second, you need to look at cost. Tracking how much you spend to make the product and how much effort is going to be put into it is essential for a successful product. The third, is to always measure your progress towards your established goals.

You will want to report progress throughout the whole project including any decisions that were made or changes in the specifications along the way. By reminding your team of the customers’ expectations and needs, they will ultimately keep those needs in check. You will want to keep coworkers and clients up to date on the status of every project. If there are any decisions or problems that arise that you aren’t comfortable with, always address the issues with your team or with the client. This will reinforce progress and help boost morale among the team and trust from your customers. Customers that are happy with their final product will ultimately count on you for their next project.

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