Prescription for a Healthy IT Project (Post 6 of 6)

Happy-Customers-Happy-Company_25877As I note in my book, “Building a Winning Business,” good customer-vendor relationships require both parties to participate, communicate and share responsibility for a successful outcome. Are you a good customer? This might seem like an odd question. After all, isn’t it the vendor’s responsibility to make the relationship work? While a vendor must go the extra mile, the customer also has obligations in making vendor relationships effective. While it might sound trite, I honestly believe the same qualities apply to a good customer as to a good employee, friend or even a spouse: trust, mutual respect and appreciation, and sharing that shows that each is committed to the success of the partnership.

On a practical level, this translates into the following behaviors on the part of customers:

  • Clearly communicate expectations. Assumptions are not helpful. Customers who share their expectations openly and early are much happier with their project outcomes.
  • Provide clear direction and feedback to the project team to control scope.
  • Understand that changes to a project that modify the original base requirements often are necessary to provide the best solution.
  • Take the initiative in quickly removing roadblocks for those doing the work.
  • Share responsibility for success of delivery.
  • Work to diminish political boundaries.
  • Be actively engaged in the process all along the way.
  • Do not overreact to minor setbacks.
  • Communicate on a daily basis.
  • Pay on time.