I want to start by clarifying that I am not talking here about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or anything related to the sales process. I will be talking about Project Management, and the impact clients can have during the production process.
In my experience, I have found that the most resource-draining issue over a project lifecycle is when the requirements and rounds of revision begin to increase without control. What once was a simple two-day deliverable can become a three-week feedback management process.
This is a reality that every good project manager must expect and plan for. However, this is the most neglected domain in Project Management methodologies, tools, and software that I have found in the market.
In this post, I want to show why keeping track of revision rounds is one of the most powerful weapons in the Project Managers’ arsenal.
Taking care of your productivity
Controlling the client’s feedback can free up your production team by freeing up their workload and take on more projects without overburdening anyone. That way, you will make better use of your time building customer relationships and ensuring that tasks get completed on time.
Communication is key during this process. You need to make sure the client understands the expectations for the project and the consequences if they deviate from the agreed plan. Once the client is completely aware of the project’s scope, you can adapt to any situation and negotiate effectively to have a more organized feedback process.
Keeping track of the client’s revision rounds will allow you to identify which customers are profitable and which are not. Some clients are just perfect for the competition, and it is your responsibility to identify and deal with them in the most cost-effective manner.
A bad client can cost a lot of damage to any agency or company, and when clients do not provide the right information or do not know what they want, you can easily end up financing a whole project with your own money.
Adding those extra few sentences in an email communicating revision rounds status every time you send a client preview, can make all the difference in the success and control of the project. By doing this, you will not only optimize your costs, but you will also be able to increase profitability by understanding where to allocate your most profitable resources.
Improving team’s efficiency and motivation
When you control the rounds of revisions, you can help your team keep their skills relevant, which will have a high impact on their motivation. The more unexpected work you have on your process, the less relevant your production process becomes to your team. Low motivation means that you won’t be able to deliver a high-quality product. Not delivering high-quality products means that you will not have good case studies, and when clients are not satisfied, you will not make any money.
When you spend more time gathering the right insights and feedback from the client, your team will spend less time performing mundane tasks and more time on bigger-picture projects. A successful client management process not only will help you deliver what you promise, but also will impact your team building and sales processes.
Changes are inevitable
All projects are affected by multiple variables, and very often, Project Managers will need to adjust their schedule, budget, and scope. Nevertheless, in my opinion, an increase in schedule constraints can easily lead to project delays and cost overruns. Uncertainty cannot be managed with theory or strict planning. You need to adapt and be flexible. Monitoring the client’s feedback will give that flexibility and prepare you to negotiate with evidence when it comes to those uncomfortable conversations.
Despite what the rigid methodologies can say or what the assessment from structural models can recommend, there is no standardized mechanism or evaluation process to determine the risk of the client’s feedback becoming a pain on the neck.
However, agile methods to manage expectations, flexible price contracts, and a simple two-way communication system between you and the client, can help you create several scenarios to execute in the most profitable way possible.
Obviously, these are just an opinion, and I am always happy to share ideas with other Project Managers.
So, let me know your thoughts in the comment section or share this post if you think it can be helpful to anyone.
Written by Carlos Roca: Head of Projects at Room4 Media.