Although sometimes challenging, a well delivered project can be extremely rewarding. Successful projects contribute to individual and team success and at the end of the day it is the positive client experience that enables businesses to grow and gain positive reputation.
Project management goes way beyond delivering specific tasks and it requires team collaboration and being able to form and grow strong client relationships. Your key stakeholders play a key role in helping you to stay focused on the right priorities and to get things done – so managing these relationships effectively creates increased clarity and focus. As projects can be often complex, there are little things that can help to get the basics rights:
1. Understand what motivates your client
We all have different drivers and understanding what is it that motivates your client will go a long way. By understanding what success means to them you can help them to get there. Focus on individual, team as well as business success – this way you are contributing to the bigger picture but are also providing personalised support to your key stakeholders. Know their priorities including what are they accountable for and they key results they are focused on.
2. Help to solve your client’s challenges
Your client’s agenda can be often complex so it’s essential to understand the challenging aspects of their work and how can you make their life easier. They need your support and vice versa, so be aware of what’s competing with you for their time and energy. Focus on their business challenges and struggles that keep them up at night. Never make assumptions about what are their expectations – if you are not clear it is always better to ask than assume you know what they want.
3. Adapt to your client’s communication style
Your clients are likely to have limited time, so use it efficiently. As you start a project, ask for their preferences in communication, determine how much detail are they interested in and what’s their preferred way and frequency of communication. Throughout the project stay focused on important points and if there are any issues let them know before things get out of control.
4. Communicate regularly
Keep them updated about the results you aim to achieve, by when and how you plan to achieve them. Open and honest communication will help you stay aligned with your client and their business strategy, address potential obstacles and focus on the right priorities as circumstances and strategies change. Keep it simple and communicate regularly the progress you are making and any measurable results that support your end goals and if you are initiating a change of plans, establish a business case that links the change to the overall strategy.
5. Build trust
To build and maintain your client’s trust, it is essential to be dependable – to keep your promises and commitments. If you can’t deliver your tasks on time, communicate this in advance stating realistic timelines. Don’t make excuses and don’t over commit yourself. Admit the things that you can’t answer, but go the extra mile to find the answer or the solution. Be the partner that helps them succeed.