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Is the Client Responsible for Project Success?
By Barney Austen

When a client looks for a project, they can easily fall into the trap of either devolving all responsibility to the project team and not engaging as an active part of the team or they can be overly involved to the point at which it has become disruptive.

The client is an integral part of the project team and they have a responsibility to the project manager to play that part with enthusiasm and through open engagement.

So how can a client contribute to project success?

  • Understanding what it is they are actually looking for from the project in the first place. This may seem like a no-brainer – but how many of us have had to deal with an ever-evolving project scope because the client is not quite sure…?
  • Participating actively in review sessions e.g. design reviews and speaking up if they are not happy with something.

  • Putting their ideas forward – the clients viewpoints are as valuable as that of the team. Who knows who might have the right idea?

  • Knowing what they don’t know and being prepared to accept the project teams’ expertise when appropriate without trying to second guess.

  • Appreciate the work being put in and feed that back to the project team. It’s amazing how a quick word of thanks can help the team “feel the love”.

  • Being open to challenge. Kind of ties back to number 3, but sometimes the client is not always right!

These are just a few ideas for how a client can engage and help the success of a project.

As a client of project management – what would you add to the list?

As a project manager – what other things can clients do to help towards your projects achieving success?

Barney Austen is the founder of http://beta.myprojecttracker.com/ (still in Beta), an easy to use, cost effective, powerful tool to provide both business owners and project managers the key information needed to run their projects efficiently and effectively. Barney Austen’s passion is to help businesses through the provision of functionally relevant, but intuitive products. You can read more from Barney on his company’s blog, available here.

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