Purpose: To understand the core values of APF. A major part of APF is that it is client-based and client-driven. This requires greater involvement of the customer in the project than was expected under TPM. Discuss strategies on gaining greater customer involvement in an APF project, especially for customers who are busy with other projects and functional duties. A common strategy for the customer would be to send in people who may not have decision-making authority but are "warm bodies" just sent to sit in on meetings. What can the project manager do in this case?
Project managers need to keep customers informed of project developments so that customers can make adjustments in their own plans. When circumstances dictate changing the scope or priorities of the project, project managers need to be quick to spell out as best they can the implications of these changes to the customers so that they can make an informed choice. Active customer involvement allows customers to naturally adjust their expectations in accordance with the decisions and events that transpire on a project, while at the same time, the customer's presence keeps the project team focused on the customer's objectives for the project.
Active customer involvement also provides a firmer basis for assessing project performance.
The customer not only sees the results of the project but also acquires glimpses of the effort and actions that produced those results. Naturally project managers want to make sure these glimpses reflect favorably on their project teams, so they exercise extra care that customer interactions are handled in a competent and professional manner. In some respects, customer perceptions of performance are shaped more by how well the project team deals with adversity than by actual performance. Project managers can impress customers with how diligently they deal with unexpected problems and setbacks. Likewise, industry analysts have noted that customer dissatisfaction can be transformed into customer satisfaction by quickly correcting mistakes and being extremely responsive to customer concerns.
Veteran project managers:
Speak with one voice. Nothing erodes confidence in a project more than for a customer to receive conflicting messages from different project members. The project manager should remind team members of this fact and work with them to ensure that appropriate information is shared with customers.
The solution examines project managers core values of APF. The project managers actions in situations are examined.