“On this date, I expect some light conversation, no heavy topics like your ex-boyfriend or the current political state and we’ll both have a good time.”
“Agreed. Well, I expect to order the expensive steak and wine and you pick up the bill. I may rant about my housemate but that’s about it.”
What if – before you went on a date, or got married, or had kids, you sat down with the other party and exchanged candid expectations?
Things would go a lot smoother wouldn’t it?
You’d know up front if expectations are misaligned, and then decide what to do next.
Setting expectations right, up front really makes a massive difference in how smoothly a project will run.
While #CRM projects like #Salesforce or #MicrosoftDynamicsCE have Statement of works and contracts that dictate the commercials and deliverables, it is not possible articulate every single aspect of the project.
In today’s video (post 22 of my #30daysofvideos challenge), I outline the few points within a project engagement life cycle where I pay attention to having “formal expectations management meetings”.
It will make a big difference.
Hi. There are two stages in a project that I pay particular attention to, that I feel sets the project up for success, and impacts that in a more significant way.
The first is at the pre-sales stage, if I’m involved at that stage. What I do before the meeting (the sales meeting) with the client is that I sit down with our sales team, and try and understand what solution we are going to propose to the customer, and how we’re going to present that and whether what we’re presenting is something that we in delivery, can execute well.
If I’m involved in the bid team, which means the team that puts together the proposal for the presentation, then I don’t do that bit, because the bid process will allow me to set the expectation and work with the sales team very closely to make sure that I’m comfortable with what we go to deliver.
So what that means is that when we are in front of the client, for the sales meeting, we are all one team. And that presents a really good solid foundation at that stage.
Sometimes due to availability (or lack of), I’m only pulled into the project just before it starts. And so I was not involved in the bid process, and I’ve not had the pre sale session with the sales team. So what’s important at this stage then, is sales to delivery handover.
And I do this with the (project) team that I’ve been given for the implementation project and the sales team and we sit down and we’ll try and understand the process and sales stage process: who the key players are, what the key issues the client might have, what we’ve eventually sold, what was signed on the dotted line on the statement of work, and what we are going to deliver.
At this stage, I make sure that psychological safety is in play, I make sure that everyone in the team have an opportunity to raise any concerns that they might have with regards to timeline or the way we’re expected to deliver this project or a technical issue, whatever that might be, because the implementation team may not be the same as the pre sales bid team, who may or may not have a technical delivery resource on hand to help shape the proposal.
So at this stage, “Let’s hear it all team. Tell me what you think.” Because I’m not one to shy away from any issues that might come up. Because the earlier I see the issue, the more I can plan for it.
Depending on the size of the consulting partner that you work with, you may or may not get the team that you’ve worked with before, you may get everybody who’s brand new to you.
So this particular exercise is very useful in pulling everyone together. And helping them understand that myself as the project manager, as the leader of this project, value their opinion. And everyone has an even stake in the success of this project.
After this exercise, when we have the formal kickoff with the client, the cohesion of the team is much, much tighter, you won’t have a situation where somebody says something that’s not quite correct and then you’ve got to stand up and you’ve got to make that correction of that statement.
We’re all singing from the same hymn sheet. And that creates a really solid foundation to the start of the project.
So that’s my two tips.
Three, if you consider the fact that having delivery involved in bid stage, putting the proposal together, or the pre sell stage, which is where once a proposal has been kind of put together the demonstration with the client and the first sales meeting with the client or the key meeting with the client, and the kickoff of the project, whereby we have the internal handover with sales, the internal kickoff for every member of your team, as well as the formal kickoff with the client.
If you do these things right then you are setting up the project for success.
And the only things that you kind of have to deal with on the phone road bumps that you see in a normal project.
Anyway, that’s my few tips for today.
I hope you found it useful and I wish you a fantastic day.
Thanks a lot.