Working with Clients (with Jason McDonald)

Vision Yes Ally Patron
No Bureaucrat Overseer
No Yes
  1. How to work with each type
    1. Bureaucrat
      1. avoid, minimize time with
    2. Ally
      1. good for brain storming
      2. Can help you with overseer
    3. Patron
      1. want to have access to
    4. Overseer
      1. have a lot going on
    5. General
      1. Should treat people like they might be a patron, because they might be.
      2. people’s roles do change during the life of a project
  2. You need to have finesse, especially when you’re communicating hard things.
  3. Be relentless within constraints
    1. sometimes ruffling the client’s feathers aren’t worth the consequences.
    2. some people shut down when trying to discuss things because that is their role
    3. Be relentless with the right people in the right orders. The right people are those with vision because they can help you convince others.
    4. How relentless to be
      1. Use social capitol carefully
      2. relentless with a smile, being relentless isn’t permission to be a jerk.
    5. Most clients have felt like they didn’t communicate enough.
    6. As a project manager the success of the project has to come first.
  4. Saying no
    1. Offer data/best practices is you can
    2. manage your priorities and keep work in line with that
    3. You have to say no when you can’t do things, it’s better to manage the expectations than to over promise.
    4. yes, and technique (improv actors) – when someone brings something in you say yes, and here’s what we can do to make it happen. You build a lot of social capitol.
      1. say yes to solutions
      2. validate them first
      3. it’s the right thing to do because you’re working for them.
      4. Build relationships with people outside of the project. Have lunch, be interested in the other parts of their jobs/lives.
      5. You’ll then need to make changes with your team. You’ll need social capitol to transition them into that. Then rebuild the social capitol that you’ve spent.
  5. Client role
    1. Clients usually want to be part of the team, either because they have vision or because they have to answer to someone and want to be prepared for that.
    2. It’s generally a mistake for the PM to force all communication to go through them. Team members should be able to communicate with the client.
  6. Leadership – communicating vision so that others want to follow. Not the same as management.
    1. There is a difference between communication and management structures. Communication is flat. Management is hierarchical. Managers need to be comfortable with walking into a room and being surprised.
  7. Confidence is a gift that you give to other people, because it helps them to feel what they’re feeling instead of focusing on what you’re feeling.
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