How To Close Projects And Manage Customer Value

The Successful Project Drill                        

Let’s consider a business unit which struggles holding on to customers. Sales staff chase new customers because they lose more of them than expected. The business unit manager directs his managers to deliver projects on time, on cost, on quality – no exceptions. Project managers do exactly as told. Customers move away when the market delivers what they need – importantly, when they buy what delivers outstanding value. So, what’s wrong with the picture. The business unit manager has to solve the problem quickly. He knows it takes 10 times more work to bring new customers than hold on to existing ones. How do you fix it?

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The Answer Lies In How Projects Close

So what happens when projects close? Do project managers present a closure report? Who takes part in this presentation? Typically, the business unit manager, controller and the account manager need to discuss how the project manager finished the project. It’s not just about the numbers. Though it’s important the project finishes according to the customer’s scope and improves margins, there is more to learn. When the project goes online and the customer begins to use the deliverables, it becomes clear if the project has met customer needs. Sometimes, the customer finds problems in this phase, which affect how they’ll keep their business running long-term. You finish on time, budget and quality and adjust so customer gets value going forward. This may need change orders during execution but it also needs a delicate balance to finish project as defined.

What We Learn

The project manager needs to evaluate changes carefully when the customer asks for them when he carries out the project. Some changes may not yield value. It’s the project manager’s job to guide the customer so they know the market trends and achieve value for the project. For this, the project manager needs to understand how the customer plans to use the project so he creates value for his organization. He needs to ask the basic questions. Will the project make it easy for the customer to sell to his customers? Will it improve productivity of his staff? Will it shorten his staff’s learning time? Will it cut reactive maintenance? Will it make it easy to manage and increase response speed to his or her customers?

 How Businesses Reach Their Goals

 The business unit manager has to insist on the project closure report for each project so he understands how the customer achieved value. The reports aren’t just checklists for the unit or the project manager but real discussions on why they did the project. Once customers know how projects help them create value for their customers, they will never leave.

Written by Suresh Iyengar, P.E., President, Business Unit Execution LLC––“Explosive Business Coaching Houston Results For Small Business”. Want even faster results? Are you ready to learn? Call 281.410.5375 and speak to your Profitability Coach Houston today!

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