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Monday, January 9, 2012

Lesson No. 1: Get Users Involved As Early As Possible

Imagine the Scenario – You have just completed an IT Project for a customer and when you deliver it to them, they arent satisfied. They feel it isnt exactly what they expected. Can you guess what went wrong?

The Manager probably collected the Requirements and then lost touch with the users or customers.

The secret to project success is to involve the users almost as soon as there is anything visible to show them. How much better it is to find out that there are problems with what we are developing early on, rather than after the project is complete!
Remember the PMP topics on Controlling Project Costs & Quality? Changes done to a project that is nearing its completion are far costlier than the ones that are taken up at earlier stages of the project.

Costs for changes become increasingly high the further along we are on the project schedule timeline. The time to recode, retest, and rework the immediate software, as well as to test integration with all the peripheral code involved, can delay the project substantially. And both time and cost baselines are jeopardized if a change is so major that it has to go through a lengthy Change Control Board process for approval.

As a project manager, you should get the users talking to the software developers early and often. This is exactly the reason why successful IT Projects have a team of Business Analysts who provide the interface between the users and the project team. They frequently interact with both parties and ensure that the expectations of both the team and the end users are met.

So, Hard Wire this in your brain – “Always involve Users & Customers as soon as possible in the Project Lifecycle and keep them involved throughout the life of the Project”

Index: Things a Good Project Manager Must Know

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