Clients Management Part 2: The Three "W's" of Project Approvals

June 5, 2015
In this video we will outline the main questions to ask when looking to land project approvals. This will help you save time, and become a more efficient project manager. FREE Project Management EBOOK for new project managers. DOWNLOAD HERE: http://www.easyprojects.net/ebook/ Don't forget to check out our Blog on project management to learn more: http://www.easyprojects.net/blog/ This is Part 1 from the 3-Part video series on Client Management. Subscribe and don't miss new videos! WHO Before the project even gets under way, you need to establish who exactly is going to decide when the project is done. It could be the primary stakeholder, a management committee, or even the project manager. What’s important is that this person has the ultimate authority to call this project done even when there are differences in opinion—and there absolutely will be. Once you establish who gets to approve the project, you might want to consider giving them an account in your project management software to simplify the approval process. WHAT Before a client can approve a project intelligently, they have to know what they’re looking for. The team has to establish measurable standards of success before the project begins. Without this, the client might as well just look at a line of code, shrug his shoulders, and say, “looks OK.” This is a general overview, of course. Ideally, the approval criteria should drill down to several or more quantifiable objectives, each of which depends on what stage the project is currently at. WHEN Speaking of which, when to ask for client approval depends on your project’s workflow. Waterfall projects require a sign off on an entire phase before moving on to the next one. Others, like Agile, approve sections of the project as they finish. And some projects, despite using Waterfall or Agile, only require client feedback right before completion. There are three important questions to ask when scheduling approval phases: When will the client’s feedback be most valuable? How will feedback at that point impact the rest of the project? What is the cost of implementing their changes at that point in time? Let’s say a team only asks the client for approval when it’s nearly done. It turns out the client has some important feedback that changes the way the product operates. The feedback is valuable, but it would’ve been more valuable at the start of the project, when the change could’ve been implemented more easily. As it is, the team would have to redo significant portions of the project in order to accommodate the change. The cost of this change drives the project way over budget, and now both the project manager and the client have to scramble for more funds. This was a painful and entirely avoidable mistake. The project manager should insert a couple more approval phases earlier in the project to keep this from happening again.
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