How The PMO Director Manages Disagreements, Increases Value

Let’s talk about the fourth important task in our series for the Program Management Office (pmo) Director. It’s to step in and manage disagreements and reduce project risks. These could come from many sides – customers, suppliers, contractors or internal teams. Of all, ones with customers have 50% greater chances of hurting projects. So the pmo director needs to solve this disagreement before it heightens. 

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In various instances, customers become dissatisfied with the project when it doesn’t meet their expectations. Usually, unclear scope is at the root of the misunderstanding. First step for the pmo director is to work with the project manager to see what he has done until the time the issue erupted. Next he has to set aside choices to trade in favor of a solution. This could mean cost free changes in the short-term, which would lead to long-term benefits for both sides. For example:

  • extending warranty 
  • cost-free upgrades to scope, which are mutually useful
  • preparing and then offering to deliver project sooner
  • offering labor services at customer site in exchange for maintenance contract
  • various other ways to boost the contract

Once the choices are clear, the pmo director needs a face-to-face meeting to discuss the problem. Setting up time during the middle of the week works best.  Both sides need to have the right parties to meet. We need to stress, the pmo director needs to spend time understanding the contract and check areas for potential relief. However, bringing up the contract first without understanding the customer’s real issue could delay the solution. Some key areas where contracts are unclear include:

  • unclear scope of work
  • starting work without a signed contract (includes change orders)
  • delay clause
  • ending warranty
  • acceptance test responsibilities
  • qualified supplier or sub-supplier
  • quality of work
  • limiting contract duties

We need to stress, the pmo director needs to spend time understanding the contract and check areas for potential relief. However, bringing up the contract first without understanding the customer’s real issue could delay the solution.

The pmo director needs to connect the dots to know which area could potentially bring a longer term customer and then take the right steps. Replacing the project manager is the last step in solving a dispute. Usually, this could only bring slight change to the result, unless there is a real issue, which calls for obvious change. The pmo director also has to check if suppliers don’t do quality work. This could also hurt project results. If they are adding to the problem then the pmo director has to meet them separately and discuss the contract. 

Overall, the pmo director has to walk the thin rope to find a lasting solution. This will increase value and aid the business.

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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