It’s been said the job of a project manager is like riding a bike. Except the bike is on fire. You’re on fire. Everything is on fire.
While, as someone who has completed more than 100 projects for Chesapeake Systems, I can certainly appreciate the challenges that come with the role of project manager. I also know that there are actions our clients, and we, can take that will set everyone up for success.
Here are three ways a client can help ensure the most efficient, effective project from Chesapeake Systems.
1. Be invested in the project both financially and emotionally.
A client that is really invested emotionally in what they’re about to buy, whether it’s $200 or $200K or $1 million, really sets themselves and Chesapeake Systems up for success. One of our clients, a media company, is simultaneously moving to a new facility and significantly upgrading its existing storage infrastructure. During the course of this company’s new facility buildout, they came to us and said that in addition to their electrical, plumbing and HVAC contractors, they also consider Chesapeake Systems as one of their primary contractors for the project. We were involved from the beginning in terms of facility planning. We had the opportunity to say, you’ll need this amount of electrical power, you’ll need this kind of cabling and you’ll require this amount of rack space. The fact that the client was willing to make that investment in involving us in project planning guaranteed as smooth a transition as possible and helped set them up for future success.
2. Know what you’re buying – and want it.
A lot of times clients will come to us looking for an asset management system or shared storage, and we will educate them and present them with multiple options, so they can see the benefits of various approaches. What we love to see from the organizations we work with, and what can help ensure success, is for them to want to understand how the product works.
We want our clients to:
Be available for demos and in-depth conversations
Make sure all key stakeholders are involved in the discussions, including managers and end users
Understand how the new technology will interact with their environment and impact their work style (How will it integrate with their existing infrastructure and workflow)
There are several reasons why we desire this, but one of the main ones is that once we walk away, the client will be responsible for this new system in their environment. We’ll show up, we’ll install it, and we’ll train them on it, but they’re responsible for the day-to-day interaction with this new product that they purchased. We want the client to have an emotional investment in what they’re buying and to appreciate it. After all, these systems will serve as the cornerstone of many aspects of their operation, and they will rely on them to help fulfill their responsibilities and do their job.
3. Be prepared.
Whether it’s making sure all the stakeholders have fully bought into the project before signing the contract, ensuring the right people in the company prioritize and are available for key project milestones, or simply ensuring all the items on our prerequisite list have been checked off before the project begins, being prepared makes all the difference.
It’s important to keep in mind that the project begins long before the customer signs on the dotted line. It begins with our first conversation.
Because the projects we’re involved with rely on our professional services team for their implementation, the quotes that we generate include labor line items that inform the projects’s scope of work. Our SOW outlines who you are as a client, what systems you currently have in place, what we’re selling and installing for you and how it’s going to integrate into your environment. Also included in that scope of work is a list of prerequisites that we expect the client to have performed ahead of the project, such as making sure adequate power and rack space for new equipment is available and logistics have been handled that will allow our staff timely access to facilities. We expect that our customers’ signature on this SOW document indicates they are aware of and have followed through on the prerequisites and have asked any pertinent questions to ensure the project runs smoothly.
It’s important to keep in mind that the project begins long before the customer signs on the dotted line. It begins with our first conversation. The more our customers invest in those pre-deployment phases, the more successful the project will be.
For every project, Chesapeake Systems really strives to understand what the needs are and to talk to the end users. If you don’t know what questions to ask, tell us. We’re professionals. You came to us for a reason – utilize us. If you’re not sure about what you’re buying, ask for a demo.
Another reason a successful project is beneficial is that, oftentimes, our relationship with our customers extends beyond the project as we segue into supporting the post deployment environment. The smoother the project runs, the more seamless this transition is to the day-to-day usage.
At Chesapeake Systems, we love nothing more than to educate and inform and empower our clients. Are you interested in speaking to another organization that was facing a similar challenge or made a similar transition? Ask us, we’ll put you in touch with them!