By Ran Berger, Flat Rock CEO
So, you started your project, you chose your supplier, set up an internal project team and you are all ready to go. We all know that it is not that simple to deliver and to complete projects on time, quality and budget. So what can we really do beyond the technical and methodical activities of the project delivery lifecycle? How can we make this happen? How can we work in collaboration with our chosen supplier (I prefer the term partner)?
I have been the client for many years and in the last 5 years I am part of the suppliers. During the years, I have seen many project managers and been part of many project teams and would like to share my thoughts of how to make this happen. They are all results of real experiences.
Long gone the days of “us” and “them”…it is all about working together in a partnership. It is the client’s interest that the supplier is successful in their delivery to protect their investment and internal reputation and it is the supplier’s interest to ensure a successful delivery to retain the client and grow together.
It is my view that as soon as the barriers and walls are down and everyone sees the project as a partnership, the likelihood of a successful delivery and more importantly, the ability to successfully deal with difficult situations will only increase.
So, how can we develop that partnership? The main ingredients are below. And no, there’s no magic wand to make it happen…
We all operate in a global environment. This means that in many projects we have exposure to multiple cultures, languages and locations. The first thing to do is to simply accept that fact and accommodate it.
You need to learn and read about the cultures, their way of communicating, their time zones, areas of sensitivity, current economy climate, their language and what makes them motivated.
And let’s not forget the organisational culture. It is important to understand that companies operate in different cultures and rhythm and it is very important to learn it and find a way to synchronise. You are not required to change your operating culture or adopt someone else’s in order to be successful but it is key to learn how to operate together.
How to learn that? This can be seen in the organizational chart, communication style, dress code, atmosphere in the work environment and staff turnover.
Everyone knows that communication is a key factor for project success. I would like to suggest a few simple things in relation to communication.
Agree on the communication plan from the outset. Ensure that frequency of updates is relevant and has a predefined minimum. This will help avoid anticipation for random updates.
Keep it simple. Communicate on the key and important things. Don’t waste time on the non-relevant topics.
Encourage feedback. Constructive feedback always helps to improve.
Build them, nurture them, spend the time to develop them. Good relationships on all levels (operational, C level) are key for trust and partnership. If you’ve managed to get this part right, then you will be able to work together and overcome any operational issues.
Manage them. Make sure that all parts are aware of the expectations at all stages of the projects. It is crucial that the project team is fully oriented and driven towards what’s expected from them.
Having a winning mentality in the project team is just great. So celebrate success, ensure constant wins and even small ones. It is always great to see the bright side and enjoy the success. Many small wins will add up to a winner project.
There is much more than the above and I would be happy to share more. We always welcome new clients, new challenges and feedback.