Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Customer product integration, part of Project Management Foundations: Integration.
- I want to share something that may come as a shock. As project managers, we rarely deliver business value. As much as I hate to admit it, as a longtime project manager, I have to acknowledge it's true. However, our projects do produce items of importance. Deliverables that serve as catalysts for our customers to derive business value. Understanding this can help us ensure that business value occurs more often as a result of our projects.
I recommend you engage in three integration steps. All focused on your customer that can help you ensure business value is generated after your projects, even if you don't directly deliver it yourself. First, understand where your scope ends and customer implementation scope begins. I once worked on a project to improve the service results of a customer help desk. My project researched, purchased, and configured a new help desk customer ticket capture and tracking system.
We also researched the nature of customer calls and changed the scripts the help desk agents were using to obtain information from callers. It worked well in instances where the customer allowed the help desk agents to get sufficient training. Where that training didn't occur, results were lackluster at best. This shows that most project managers can only go so far to deliver value. The customer must understand their scope to get business results.
In this case, by training their help desk agents. Second, plan the customer implementation tasks even if you are not expected to deliver them. The planning and organizational skills that you bring to bear to produce project deliverables are very useful for your customer. Although you customers will typically understand that steps need to be executed so your project outcomes generate business value, the complexity and magnitude of those steps are often underestimated.
Through detailed understanding of your deliverables, help your customer by deriving a plan for how your project deliverables can be used to produce business value. It will help you and your project to be perceived as a viable undertaking. Third, project manage or track customer implementation tasks, even if it is agreed that it's beyond your scope. I once had a senior leader that described project management as being at the center of a project's universe.
Anything and everything that can affect your project outcomes should be on your radar. You can produce great products with your project, but if no business results are felt from your project, you will not be perceived well, even if the failure is out of your direct sphere of influence. Volunteer to step in and track customer activities. It'll probably help you in the long run. These three items can be more easily supported if you have a simple way to convey what your project is producing and what you expect your customer to do to ensure value is realized.
I use a one-page template called a Benefits Map. Let me take you through a sample Benefits Map. The left side of the map provides a reference to the goals and benefits expected from the project. This includes the Overall Objective in the upper left corner and a list of more specific objectives listed below. These usually are the elements outlined in the project's business case. The next column describes the deliverables that your project will produce.
Next, you show the business changes that need to occur as a result of your project, and via the arrows, how they tie to the project deliverables. Finally, the columns to the right then show the outputs and outcomes that you hope to realize as a result of the project. And once again, via arrows, how the customer must contribute to generate that value. And there you have it. A map and approach to help you get over the shock of not delivering value directly. And not only that, something that can help you ensure business value is realized.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Planning for integration
- Managing scope, cost, and risk
- Integration and communication techniques
- Staffing the integration
- Mapping project interrelationships
- Dealing with multiple critical paths