Project Management, Lessons from the Trenches: Honest Relationships

When I’m assigned a project for a new client, it’s pretty obvious where the start is, go introduce myself to the client, explain to them what I’m there to do and start an ‘honest relationship’ with them.

Honest business relationships

Honest Relationship? Aren’t all Client/Customer relationships honest? I hear you say… NO! Think about buying a used car, you know before you are even on the car lot that the sales person is NOT going to be 100% straight with you. It’s his job and you expect him to!! (Come on, let’s be fair here, a lot of people look forward to the challenge of figuring out truth from fiction).

In the world of Project Management there is a level of Politics involved, it’s the nature of the job when you have multiple stakeholders involved. Now, some PM’s choose to play in the arena and are real pros at it! How do you recognize it? Well, that’s the problem, I don’t! Whether you are an Administrator or the CEO of the Company, you are still a member of the Project Team and have to step up to the mark and accept the responsibility of submitting your share of the deliverables along with everyone else.

I work with my clients and my project teams to take responsibility for success and failure for a project AS A TEAM. No finger pointing allowed. If a client isn’t delivering, what can we do to help them? Is it that they are struggling with understanding what they need to do? Are there language barriers? (This happens more than you would know). The same likewise, if the development team is struggling, I want to know about it, I want to talk to the client about it, understand why they are struggling and work as a team to figure it out. Creating an environment of trust and honesty where everyone on the Project Team is there for a reason and ALL are invested in a successful outcome begins with developing Honest Relationships.

What defines an Honest Relationship?

I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve seen examples of a not-so-honest relationship on a project. Within the project team itself, in its engagement with Stakeholders in selective communication, leaving BAD NEWS until it really is bad news …

You’re running behind on development? Tell the team now! There is always a way to fix this, and sometimes it’s the client team themselves who come up with the solution that prevents stress and far too many late nights that may have been unwarranted. COMMUNICATE clearly and honestly. At the first sign of a problem, SHOUT loudly!!! You will get more credit and respect for identifying Risks before they become ISSUES when you leave them until it’s too late.

So, the long and the short of it, treat your Project Team and Stakeholders like they are the love of your life. You made a commitment to be honest, communicate clearly with each other and to share the good, the bad and the ugly!! (Especially first thing in the morning on those VERY EARLY calls!).

The Project Management Institute (PMI) shares a great whitepaper “Communication: The Message is Clear” on the importance of communication in project management.

MCFTech takes our client relationships very seriously. Ready to give us a try? Contact us today!