Beyond Budget and Scope: Managing Client Expectations and Delivering Value


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Many projects begin with by ambiguous needs, unclear priorities, mind-changing customers, and of course, a tight deadline. There are tools to monitor budget and schedule, but failure to manage client expectations often results in frustrating miscommunications and serious consequences for projects and business relationships.

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Beyond Budget and Scope: Managing Client Expectations and Delivering Value

  1. 1. Beyond Budget and Scope Managing Client Expectations and Delivering Value Vanessa Turke Solution Architect ImageX Media
  2. 2. agenda & goals of this presentation <ul><ul><li>Why a Drupal project may fall short of client expectations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Defining customer satisfaction, quality and value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Setting the stage for understanding client expectations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Techniques for optimizing project communications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pursuing the goal of delivering value with every project </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. drupal firm | user experience
  4. 4. drupal firm user experience &quot;How do customers perceive us?&quot;
  5. 5. project work is like the fable of the 6 blind men and the elephant
  6. 6. each man touched a part of the elephant and took it for the whole
  7. 7. a good understanding of how the pieces come together is needed to create a successful outcome
  8. 8. Customer Satisfaction = Your Performance ____________________ Customer Expectations (Lewis and Mitchell, 1990; Dotchin and Oakland, 1994a; Asubonteng et al., 1996; Wisniewski and Donnelly, 1996)
  9. 9. but how you perceive your performance may differ from how your customers perceive it.
  10. 10. have you ever been happy with a product or service, but would never deal with that particular service provider again because of how you were treated?
  11. 11. a study that author Naomi Karten talks about in her presentations shows that that this happens more than we think
  12. 12. 22% due to dissatisfaction with the product 78% due to dissatisfaction with the process why people stopped dealing with the business:
  13. 13. conceptualization of service quality <ul><ul><li>Tangibles - equipment, facilities & appearances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assurance - competence, credibility, security, trust </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reliability - dependable, accurate, on time & on budget </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Responsiveness - service, communication & helpfulness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Empathy - attention, caring & understanding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(SERVQUAL methodology based factors) </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. project processes or stages <ul><li>Initiation </li></ul><ul><li>Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Execution </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring and Controlling </li></ul><ul><li>Closure </li></ul>
  15. 15. what do clients expect? <ul><ul><li>“ In a competitive and depressed economic climate, [your customers] want to know that any IT project they undertake will deliver a significant return on investment.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Project management researchers, Reich, Gemino, Sauer (2010) SFU) </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Where do projects come from?
  17. 17. organizational culture <ul><ul><li>Organizational structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Level of technical ability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Philosophy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication style </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decision-making style </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexibility and constraints </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. creating a project strategy <ul><ul><li>What is the business goal of the website? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the mission critical task for a user to complete? </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. why do people start web projects? <ul><ul><li>Site looks outdated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Company President said we need one </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing Department launching new product </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extra funding to be spent by year-end </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tech-guy quit and no one else can update the site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adding social media features </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone should have a website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The next great idea </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. website type <ul><ul><li>Brand Presence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing Campaign </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content Source </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Task-based application </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E-Commerce </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E-Learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Network </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. what is value? <ul><ul><li>“ [value is] the relationship between the consumer's perceived benefits in relation to the perceived costs of receiving these benefits.” ~wikipedia </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. quality is a loaded word... <ul><ul><li>Quality is goodness, luxury or expense </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality intangible and not measurable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality leads excessive expense </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality problems arise from sloppy work or lack of employee concern </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality is the responsibility of the quality assurance department </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. what is the cost of poor quality? <ul><ul><li>Dissatisfied customers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Declining revenue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Excessive number of defects & delays </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Excessively long timeline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Excessive costs: rework, late deliveries, loss of customers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High conversion costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Under utilization of capacity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple or inconsistent problem-solving approaches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employee dissatisfaction and low morale </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. what is quality? <ul><ul><li>&quot;Quality is the degree to which a specific product satisfies the wants of a specific consumer.&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;Quality is the degree to which a specific product conforms to a design or specification.&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(H.L. Gilmore, &quot;Product Conformance Cost,&quot; Quality Progress, June 1974, p.16). </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. “ I’ll know it when I see it...”
  26. 26. what is a quality product? <ul><ul><li>One that meets customer standards, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meets and fulfills customer needs, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meets customer expectations, and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will meet unanticipated future needs and aspirations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Gitlow et al., 1989 or Ozeki and Asaka, 1990) </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. what is quality? <ul><ul><li>&quot;Quality is fitness for use.&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>~ J.M Juran (1988) </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. the father of quality <ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. perfect is the enemy of the good <ul><ul><li>&quot;Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien.&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>~ from Voltaire's Dictionnaire Philosophique (1764) </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Initiating <ul><ul><li>Sales, Contracts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Defining the project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating initial documentation, RFP, SOW, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relationship building </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Putting together the project team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying project goals and objectives </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. kickoff meeting <ul><ul><li>Introductions & overview of the project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying current site challenges </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying Stakeholders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overview of the process so far </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Role the website plays in the organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Defining project objectives discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying success criteria for stakeholders </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. process overview <ul><ul><li>Overview of the process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Typical roadblocks encountered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communications plan discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Managing scope discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying risks and constraints </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reviewing scheduling issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review initial timeline & milestones </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. scope schedule cost
  34. 34. planning for slippage in advance <ul><ul><li>Should features be deferred? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can the schedule be allowed to slip? By how much? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can you add staff or pay for overtime to meet the new schedule? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can quality slip because sound processes and quality control practices are neglected in the press to ship? </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. project planning <ul><ul><li>Highlighting areas needing clarification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flag vagueness or marketese (for example: improve search-ability, usability, &quot;easy to update&quot;, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gather information about the end users, roles and work flow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gather information about content strategy, mission critical tasks and content types </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify potential features needing clarification or prototyping </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify potential feature incompatibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Note company culture and decision-making style (autocratic vs. consensus) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Note project communication needs and create communication plan </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. content types
  37. 37. user roles
  38. 38. risk planning <ul><ul><li>Identify project risks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assess likelihood & consequence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan: avoid, transfer, assume or mitigate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish risk events responsibilities and schedules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Monitor and correct deviations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Re-plan as appropriate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communicate </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. sample risk register for “ party ”
  40. 40. communications <ul><ul><li>Communicate with all stakeholders as early as possible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Messages need to be audience specific </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Choose a method of communication appropriate to the message being delivered and audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be vigilant in setting expectations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide regular unbiased reporting of project process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communicate what other people need to know before they need to know it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hold project-wide meetings at important milestones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build positive momentum and continue it throughout the project </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. using RACI levels for communicating <ul><ul><li>Responsible - one person must be held responsible for signing off on completed tasks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accountable - are persons held responsible for ensuring a particular task is complete </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consulted - those whose opinions are sought before moving forward </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informed - those who are kept up-to-date on progress, (though often only on completion of deliverable) </li></ul></ul>
  42. 42. monitoring & controlling <ul><li>Communicate with stakeholders as per expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Use tools you are comfortable with to monitor effort, duration, budget and schedule </li></ul><ul><li>Provide regular unbiased reporting of project process </li></ul><ul><li>Report slippage immediately </li></ul><ul><li>Review process and progress at important milestones </li></ul>
  43. 43. resistance is common (drupal can be scary) <ul><ul><li>Even if its good, change can feel bad </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not expect or demand an instantaneous adjustment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accept that a certain amount of pushback is inevitable, and allow for it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acknowledge the turbulence people are experiencing and empathize with their concerns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not focus entirely on the technical aspects of the change, ignoring the human aspects </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. beware of late thrashing .
  45. 45. the tendency, that as a project comes together... <ul><ul><li>More people will want to have influence in the final product </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People will want to change the product </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People will want to make last minute revisions and tweaks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People will want to please as many people as possible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People want the project to be a success and want to make it “perfect” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Godin, Seth. Linchpin, Are You Indispensable . New York: Portfolio, 2010 </li></ul></ul>
  46. 46. thrashing is normal and helpful if you... <ul><ul><li>Thrash early (the earlier the better) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make some ground rules that everyone from the top down has to follow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set goals, priorities to bring the project to its full potential </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow fewer and fewer decision makers as the process continues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Godin, Seth. Linchpin, Are You Indispensable . New York: Portfolio, 2010 </li></ul></ul>
  47. 47. types of scope changes <ul><li>Uncontested scope changes </li></ul><ul><li>Contested scope changes </li></ul><ul><li>Scope creep </li></ul><ul><li>Constructive scope changes </li></ul>
  48. 48. sources of scope changes <ul><li>Overt client requests </li></ul><ul><li>Covert client requests </li></ul><ul><li>Smuggled requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Project team enthusiasm </li></ul>
  49. 49. controlling scope changes <ul><li>During kickoff meeting review the scope, including what has been identified as out of scope </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure scope is included in orientation materials </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure scope remains easily accessible to team members throughout the project </li></ul><ul><li>Review scope on a regular basis </li></ul><ul><li>When a critical decision is to be made regarding the project, ensure it is weighed against the scope </li></ul>
  50. 50. uh oh .
  51. 51. overruns <ul><li>Schedule - The project will finish late </li></ul><ul><li>Effort - The project will need more resources </li></ul><ul><li>Cost - The project will exceed it's budget </li></ul>
  52. 52. bearing bad news <ul><li>Problem - present the issue in an unbiased way </li></ul><ul><li>Solution(s) - present the possible solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Action - suggest a recommended solution (and next steps) </li></ul>
  53. 53. teamwork & finding purpose <ul><li>&quot;Without explicit purpose, project work tends to shift from raging enthusiasm into utter meaninglessness... imperceptibly&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>~ David Schmaltz, The Blind Men and the Elephant </li></ul>
  54. 54. closing the project <ul><li>“ Some projects end simply because people have stopped working on them.” </li></ul>
  55. 55. closing the project <ul><li>Deliverables met </li></ul><ul><li>Acceptance criteria - acceptance test carried out </li></ul><ul><li>Proving that you will still be there to help (service plan) </li></ul><ul><li>Project review internal/external </li></ul><ul><li>Capturing lessons learned </li></ul><ul><li>Administrative closeout </li></ul><ul><li>Closing codes and time sheets </li></ul><ul><li>Archiving project assets </li></ul>
  56. 56. creating value <ul><li>“ There’s more to it than wireframes, logos, sitemaps, or stationary systems. A good brand is resultant upon aligning an organization’s values realistically and building something around this that resonates and holds value for potential customers” </li></ul><ul><li>smashLAB's, Eric Karjaluoto </li></ul>
  57. 57. presentation references <ul><ul><li>Karten, Naomi. Managing Expectations . New York: Dorset House Publishing, 1994 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Glen, Paul. Leading Geeks, How to Manage and Lead People Who Deliver Technology . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Godin, Seth. Linchpin, Are You Indispensable . New York: Portfolio, 2010 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whitely, Richard. The Customer Driven Company . Wakefield, MA, 1991 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carolyn Chandler & Unger, Russ. Project Guide to UX Design, A: For user experience designers in the field or in the making: New Riders, the Voices That Matter series, 2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  58. 58. thank you! <ul><li>Vanessa Turke </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>