By: Jennie Fowler, Global Director, Project Management Office | 3/2/2022 |

When you manage a project… who is the ‘customer’?  Is it the internal ‘customer’?  Is it the final end-user that will consume the overall outcome of the project? Are the stakeholders that you interact with each day/week to build the ‘thing’ the ‘customer’?  Is it the person (or client) that approved the budget for the project?  We can keep going with this list… right?  The ANSWER is:  ALL of these roles can be a ‘customer’ in one way or another within a project team.  Below are a few tips to help with teamwork for the overall project success!

The Three E’s:

  1. Experience factor:
    • As a project manager – what you bring to the table… does it improve anything? Specifically – the process from initiation all the way through to delivery… the people that worked with you… did you make their work-life easier? These ‘customers’ are the ones that want to work with you again on the next project!
  1. Executive presence:
    • This can be your client, sponsor, executive report-outs, management status updates, etc… Do they feel like a ‘customer’?  A little nugget I will drop here is… keep your communication brief (very brief), to the point, one-pagers.  And, in smart-neighbor speak (not lots of PM jargon).
  1. End-user:
    • Who is going to USE the outcome from your project? This ‘customer’ is often left out of the scope & planning phases. In turn, being left feeling volun-told to use something that someone else thinks they need/want.  My nugget here is – include them in the team circle. This will only help the overall success as they too have a wealth of knowledge!

In summary, everyone a Project Manager interacts with – in some way – is a ‘customer’.  A customer of the process, a customer of the deliverables, a customer to receive the outcome, etc… If you don’t already think of everyone within the path of a project as a ‘customer’… give it a try!