I know a certain project manager (PM) who I will refer to as "Bob."
Bob seems to have a knack that other PMs do not have. Bob listens to the business side of his organization and he acts as if he owns his projects as if they were his own business. Basically, Bob introduces himself as a partner of the business to not only the project sponsor, but the whole project team.
So how does Bob do this?
Bob listens to what clients are saying in meetings
Bob keeps his ears and eyes open during project meetings, but not just these meetings. Bob makes it a point to read the client and have a good line of sight of what makes the client happy or uncomfortable when it comes to the actual project. However, in these meetings, the client may begin discussing future needs and possible projects. That’s when Bob LISTENS to the whole message and discussion. The next move that Bob makes is critical. Instead of stating anything publicly in the project meeting, Bob meets with the client lead or the client sponsor who made the statement(s) and asks for additional information and clarification.
Once confirmed, Bob then contacts his direct manager and the client manager, who both need to be aware of this opportunity. Once those individuals are notified, Bob makes every effort to have the client agree to a meeting with those interested parties as quickly as possible. Bob stays in the middle of this effort and is seen as the catalyst both by his organization and, more importantly, the client.
Bob listens to the project team
Bob also listens to his project team for information regarding a client's business climate. Bob is close to the Business Analyst and/or the Technical Lead, who hear the “gossip” from the client's employees. These individuals may have information that could predict possible future scope creep on a current project that would necessitate a change request or information that could lead to a new project. Bob delivers this information to his direct manager and the client manager, as I mentioned above. Once this is done, Bob approaches the client sponsor with this information to see if he can schedule a meeting with the interested parties as soon as possible.
Bob reacts quickly to the news
Time is of the essence when new information is received. This information may grow “cold” quickly and the opportunity to bring in additional business may be lost. Bob understand that the current project is why Bob is there in the first place and that project is going to be referenced by the client organization. If the project is going well and is in the green, then Bob’s management team will have an advantage to gain additional work from the client organization.
So what Bob brings to the table is his ability to listen and watch what the client and the project team say and their body language. Bob also uses his project team as his ears and eyes while he is not around and uses that intelligence to benefit both his organization and the client for additional services that brings a solution to a problem.
I am open to discussion at any time on these blogs or anything else related to project management you would like to explore. If you would like to comment about this blog, please do so by posting on this blog or by responding in an email at Benny A. Recine. You may inspire a blog article. I look forward to your comments.