5 things your project client wants to know before you start

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5 things your project client wants to know before you start

There are some things your project customer probably would like to know or see before you start down the path of managing a complex project for them. You've likely never worked with your next project client before. In professional services organizations, 87 percent of their projects - on average based on a survey I conducted of my readers and colleagues five years ago - are first time clients. That means most projects are one-off work, but you still want to get everything as close to right as possible so that this next client becomes part of that 13 percent that are old clients coming back for new work. Or, better yet, get that number to 20-25 percent. Why? Because keeping customers or getting them to come back for new work is always easier and less time consuming and less costly than adding new project clients.

Five things that your new project client would like to know before you get started:

1. You have a detailed plan in place.

This pretty much goes without saying – your client wants to know that you aren't diving into the project head first without getting up to speed on what the project is about. They want to know that when you sit down with them for the first time to discuss the project that you already know the goals of the project and you have a general plan – hopefully a draft project schedule – of how the project is going to play out. They would like to see that you can show them...on paper at least for now...how you're going to get the project done by 'x' date.

2. You have managed similar projects before...successfully.

Likewise, the customer would hear that you have successfully managed projects of a similar nature before. They aren't going to gain comfort in hearing this is the first healthcare project that you have managed or the first CRM system you've implemented. Don't lie, but if you're the lead PM on such a project, the customer would be more comfortable knowing that you've been down this path before.

3. Your team has the expertise to pull this off.

The customer would also like to know that your team is familiar with the process and the technologies that will be used to implement their solution. Perhaps showing resumes for the project staff to the project client will alleviate this concern.

4. Your organization has the money – if needed.

Budgetary problems can be an issue on almost any project. Customers may not be funding the project with a large outlay of cash upfront. Few due. So they will feel comfortable knowing your organization has the money available to make this project happen and bill them along the way. And if you can't show them that and you are a smaller organization, they may fear you won't see the project through to the end if some big issues hit.

5. You are prepared for disaster or hacks if data is involved.

You shouldn't have to put on a big disaster / recovery or anti-cybercrime dog and pony show for the project customer unless it's required as part of a government contract. But you should be able to show your project client that you are aware of the dangers and risks of handling sensitive data for them on the project and that you have taken some steps to alleviate some risks and protect their data.