Is the Customer Happy? - Project Management

By the time you reach this point in the project, you know whether the stakeholders' expectations have been met. Part of the Controlling process involves reviewing the project plan, deliverables, and requirements and making certain the actions of the project team are satisfying the requirements and thus satisfying the stakeholders. But another part of stakeholder satisfaction includes the softer skills of communication, customer service, and problem resolution. The only way to get the answers to these questions is to ask them.

If the project is small with only a handful of stakeholders involved, hold one-on-one interviews to ask them their opinions on the progress of the project and project management processes. Or, consider creating a questionnaire to hand out to your stakeholders and customers to determine their level of satisfaction with the project. You can also use this technique to help you with the lessons learned document we discussed earlier.

Here are some sample questions you can use in your interviews, or questionnaire, to determine stakeholder satisfaction. If you're creating a questionnaire, provide them with a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not at all satisfied and 5 is very satisfied, or a similar scale.

  • Are you satisfied that the deliverable dates were met according to the final project plan?
  • Are you satisfied with the level of involvement you had on the project?
  • How satisfied are you that the status reports were clear and concise and contained enough information to determine project progress?
  • Are you satisfied with the change management process?
  • Do you think that problems were addressed and resolved in a timely manner?
  • What is your overall level of satisfaction with the product or service of the project?
  • Are you satisfied with the quality process used during the project?
  • What is your overall level of satisfaction with the project management process?
  • Overall, are you satisfied with the amount of information you received during the project regarding status, problems, and progress?

Tailor this questionnaire to your specific project, and always give the respondents room for free-form comments and feedback.

You should also interview your project sponsor. Ask them the same questions you asked the stakeholders and also ask them about your working relationship. Were there things either of you could have done differently to help the project progress more efficiently? Were the communication channels open? Did they have enough information to report the status to executive managers and answer questions regarding the project when confronted?

And don't forget the team members. While some of the questions in the above list won't apply to them, you should ask them how they think the project progressed. Were communication channels open between you and the team? Did they feel adequately informed of progress, changes, and new information? What do they think of the change control process? What do they think of the team effectiveness, and what are their suggestions for future team enhancements? All of this information will help you improve your next project if you take the time to analyze what they've told you and initiate changes where needed.

Note:Each project is a learning experience. Even though each project exists to create a unique product or service and no two projects will ever be the same, the processes you use to manage the projects will be similar and there is always room for improvement.

Back in Chapter we talked about how our ancient project management counterparts probably followed processes that are similar to the processes we use today. We've cleaned them up and made them more efficient, and we've certainly made our job easier through the use of computer software programs, but the management processes we use to assure that the outcomes of the project meet the requirements are basically the same. So, take the time to learn from the good and bad on every project, get feedback from your stakeholders and team members, and then apply these ideas to your next project

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