Project Management techniques to make customers happy

Companies very often develop their own project management techniques, tools and processes that they want to follow in their projects. Most of the time, the methodology to use for a project development is well-known for majority of company’s employees. However, experience and knowledge of an individual is always limited even though they are constantly attending specific workshops and trainings. But even then their knowledge is not equal to average level of knowledge in the industry. Thus, no matter how long the company is on the market there are still a lot of gaps in company’s processes.

As we all know each project is unique. It has different scope, budget and development time (project management triangular). Moreover, project stakeholders, tools that are obligatory to use in the organization, project environment make a project exclusive.

But what are the most important project management techniques in project development? No matter if it is a software development project or construction project?
With the development and maturation of Project Management area it becomes more possible to use different project management tools and techniques such as Visio, Jira, Microsoft Project, Confluence to manage each phase of the project successfully.
In fact, the most important topic to think about while managing a project development is people relations. Of course, we develop a product. But who does that? Without people, a good team, it is impossible to start any initiative. Moreover, to develop a product successfully, this team must be united. They must have the clear understanding what people expect from them scope-wise. And what is more important, what their customers, sponsors, all stakeholders expect from them.

Analysis of customer needs.

A company may address individual customer needs usually with help of new design. Here design is not only mock-ups or front-end issues but also technical architecture of a new improved product. A development team tries to build new design for product focusing on customer’s preferences and values. Customer values are usually basic desires of a customer. Those desires are minimum expenses, maximal usage of company/ customer’s capacity while producing less bugs.

Based on the market research analysis done by marketing or sales department, the team tries to cover as much scope as possible. With bringing bigger value for a customer.
But nevertheless it is very difficult to get the one and only definition for customer value. It depends mostly on various contexts which the team and customer are dealing with. Some authors state that customer value consists of product quality, service quality and value-based cost. But on the other hand the majority of today’s project managers are sure that customer satisfaction comes from good quality, appropriate cost for such quality and delivery time(project management triangular). Delivery time and costs may be cut by decreasing the scope and product functionality. And sometimes quality of the product as well — many bugs and heavy programming code.

Point 1.
But how to structure all customer’s need appropriately to focus afterwards on the most valuable features? To involve customer in product utility generation the development team must concentrate on 3 major points. The first one is capability of the company in developing the right product. The customer must know the employees’ skill set and specialization of the company. If a customer wants to build a spacecraft he will not probably get in touch with yogurt producers. Why no? As they simply do not possess right project capacity.

While observing company capacity, a customer should check the variety of products that a company has developed. During this step a customer checks consistent parts of the product and maturity level of features. Product family architecture (PFA) is code of actions for customer to choose the right version of product’s design. PFA is an efficient tool to cut costs due to economizing on the production scale. This economizing process is possible only when buyers use the wide range of products in different spheres and industries.

Point 2.
Self-explication. This point is the most important on author’s opinion. Here a customer must prioritize his desires and put an importance level to each and every feature. Moreover, a customer distributes the most valuable features on the top and less costly on the bottom of the features’ list.

Point 3.
As a matter of fact, the third point covers the process of creation various designs for one product. Utility investigation is a core task of the third step. A response design methodology helps to generate different profiles and test them afterwards. (In case if you have enough budget and time to use that project management techniques). Various profiles will help to calculate the general level of product utility with current design. They display different combinations of features (modules) that have their own level of desirability for a customer. Having figured various utility levels for each profile, a customer should decide which profile to proceed with.

These project management techniques may help you to reach the highest level of customer satisfaction.

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An IT-Project Manager and Product Owner, living in Düsseldorf, Germany.