It took ten years of running a service based company to learn one of the simplest ways to approach project management. While having large or multiple teams can cause complexity and internal communication issues, the type of project management that keeps your clients happy is straight forward. In fact, the common cause for client related PM issues is knowing too much. Sound crazy? Hear me out.
When it comes to your profession, you know just about everything there is to know. You know so much there are things that you can’t imagine not knowing. In fact, these concepts are so ingrained that it’s difficult to even identify what they are. On the other side, your clients know almost nothing about what you do. Everything is new to them and the things they “do” know are probably inaccurate or outright wrong. But that’s OK, it’s your job to be the expert.
This knowledge gap plays a critical role in client satisfaction. When you start a project, you can visualize just about every major event that’s going to happen from day one all the way until the project is over. Your client on the other hand can’t visualize much of anything. As a result, the client often feels like they’re wondering around a dark maze with a guide (you) that spends most of their time way ahead. The only communication their guide (you) does is shout from afar after something has happen.
So if you were in a dark maze, trying to find your way out, what sort of things would you want your guide to tell you? It’s pretty simple really.
- What’s going to happen and approximately when?
- What’s happening now? (And is it good, bad, or indifferent?)
- What will happen next?
It’s that simple. If you can give your clients a clear picture of what’s going to happen throughout the project, what to expect and how to participate, keep them informed about what’s going on at any given moment, and let them know what will be happening in the near future, all of a sudden instead of wondering around a dark maze you’re following a beautiful hiking trail.
Have some project communication tips, tricks or resources? We’d love to hear them!