Satisfying The Customer In Project Management

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The quality movement that began in the 1980s made managers aware that a primary concern of an organization, whether a business or a not-for-profit agency, is to satisfy its customers. The same can be said for project teams. A project is conducted to solve a problem; it will be judged based on how well it meets the needs of end users, regardless of whether it came in on time and on budget. Slevin and Pinto have written that when a project comes in on time and budget but fails to meet the needs of the customer, its managers have committed an Error of the Third Kind (see Dennis Slevin, The Whole Manager, AMACOM Books, p. 313). This type of error seems to happen far more frequently than one would expect.

A primary concern of an organization is to satisfy its customers.

Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is a method of examining product or service features and comparing them to customer needs and wants to see how they correlate.

To avoid this problem, many organizations today are using Quality Function Deployment (QFD) to help translate customer needs and wants into product or service features, together with Concurrent Project Management, which gets customers, vendors, contributors, and other parties to the project together from concept through completion.

QFD is a method of examining product or service features and comparing them to customer needs and wants to see how they correlate. The idea is to be certain that you give the customer those features that satisfy his needs without giving him more than necessary, which would simply add cost to the product without adding value for the customer. For a fuller treatment of the subject, see Yoji Akao, Quality Function Deployment: Integrating Customer Requirements Into Product Design, Productivity Press.

Concurrent Project Management (often called Concurrent Engineering) is a response to the throw-it-over-the-wall approach that has been practiced for many years. In the traditional approach, marketing talked to customers, defined the product or service, and threw the specifications over the wall to the developers, who then developed the product, threw it over the wall to manufacturing (or whoever had to produce it), and went on to something else.

Often the producers would find problems and would throw the design back over the wall to the developers to fix; this might happen several times. Finally, the customer got the goody, found it lacking, and sent it back. Such failure to deliver products and services that meet the needs of customers costs us our customers.


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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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