We all aim to deliver value to our customers through our projects. That’s why our customer decide to work with us. We plan our projects and execute them to perfection according to plan. But when all is said and done how can we prove that we’ve delivered value to our customer? It’s easy to say that we brought the project in on time and on budget (well ok, not that easy) but being on time and on budget doesn’t deliver value to our customer – our solution does. So how do we measure that?
“What gets measured gets done” – we’ve all heard that before but it is so true in this situation. It’s important for both yourself as the project manager and the customer to define what the business problem is that you’re trying to solve at the outset of the project. Perhaps it’s an efficiency increase that is being sought. If so, what is a measurable statistic that can be established as a target and used by the project team to help guide the solution design and implementation. This should be some sort of non-subjective measurement (i.e. a number or figure) rather than something that requires a certain level of interpretation (different eyes see results differently and can skew opinions on measures of success). For example, if we are implementing automated meter read software, perhaps there is a metric (or even a contractually bound SLA) that says the customer will see an increase of X% in the accuracy of the bills that they produce.
Some might say that I am contradicting what I say above in terms of using non-subjective metrics for helping define the value a solution brings to a customer. But there are always going to be certain ‘human’ factors that help determine the shine of a solution as it comes into the business. At the conclusion of every project I like to poll the customer (and not just our project sponsor but the boots-on-the-ground folks who use the solution daily) to see what value it has brought to their jobs. Has it made their jobs easier? Can they do their work more efficiently/accurately/easily? What intangible benefits and/or drawbacks do they now realize as a result of the system implementation.
We strive to deliver value to our customers through our project deliver – that’s why we do what we do, right? But from the customer perspective, even the most well executed project can be viewed as a failure if the intended value that the project was struck to deliver, doesn’t provide the value the customer was expecting. By setting targets through definable metrics as well as getting personal feedback from the users is a simple and concise way to ensure that the customer has received good business value from the delivery of your solution.
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