What if your Customer Project Manager is A LIAR…???
I faced this case in one of my recent projects when I was the vendor project manager… it was a nightmare and almost to destroy the project.. He was a man how discuss everything, all problems and all possible solutions, but never finalize or finish anything. As soon as he leave the meeting room he changes all his words, even that he only discussed with me… I was going to stop the project, which means a disaster for my small company and team…
I rethink everything again and find that my problem was a result of 3 main reasons:
Simplify project management is not always a good thing to do:
I was trying to create a friendly environment with customer project manager and not to be so strictly asking to sign Minutes of Meeting after any meeting. I though a short email will be enough, this was my life biggest mistake with such a man, to give him the space he needs to play in.
What to Do???
Some documentation will protect you, your project and for sure your customer; such as “Change Management Documentation”…
Over Trust is always a bad thing to do:
When discussing any issue in the meeting and we come to a basic agreement I go ahead in implementing this solution trusting that we agree on the main lines… The problem is, Customer Project Manager denied everything after that and informing the Project Senior about things we never discussed as has been raised from his side as an objections. All that to release himself from any possible responsibility for anything. He makes me responsible for all added activities, because i did not request his signature on that paper that day!!!
What to Do???
Trust is essential, but this trust should have a foundation of good documentation in order to help your customer not to be lost.
Trying To Agree with a Man That Never Get Agree:
I think this was due to personal problem due to his weak personality. He hesitate to face operation managers for anything or approve anything in order not to be asked to do anything or be responsible for anything… he always wants to keep everything open for discussion…
What do Do???
Do not try to get agree with him directly, you should do it in steps:
- Scoping Issues: Identify with him what are the problems, issues or concerns you and him are having conflict about. DO NOT DISCUSS THE PROBLEMS, ONLY IDENTIFY THEM.
- Scoping Views & Solutions: after identifying each problem write down both parties view points or proffered solutions in separate paragraph. DO NOT DISCUSS SOLUTIONS with him, only write them down. Till him that each one of you can write anything he wants in his space.
- You will find him all the time trying to discuss all, but prevent him by writing all what he wants in his space in the MOM draft.
- Documentation: review MOM and get it signed by both of you…
- DO NOT Jump into new meeting points unless previous Meeting points are signed…
what you will find is amazing,,,
- I get paid 75% of my due invoices without even asking for it. All my payments was stopped by Customer Project Manager since start of the project.
- You might discover that your Customer Project Manager is not a liar, he was only lost and afraid…
- His terms and conditions are much easier than what you was ready to give.
- It became a bountiful project.
- … So many other good thing are just keep happening while you keep getting his signature.
All the best for you in your coming projects
Nasser S. Abushama
Strategic Logic IT Senior Consultant
CMA, CFM, PMP & Microsoft ERP Certified Professional