Customer-driven project management's foundation is in the integration of the project management and TQM approaches. Customer-driven management merges the proven methodologies, tools, and techniques of project management and TQM under a single customer-driven management approach. Customer-driven project management expands the boundaries of both TQM and project management by using the customer (customer's voice) to drive an organization to complete a project focusing on total customer satisfaction.
Historically, a project manager's primary purpose was to use the organization's resources to meet the objectives set by the organization's management. Production was normally the most important objective of the organization. This naturally places management's emphasis on completing projects emphasizing internal operations. They focused on the management functions of planning, organizing, staffing, coordinating, directing, and controlling. In most organizations, directing and controlling were the primary functions of management. This traditional management approach stresses strong task-oriented management, especially at the top of the organization, to meet organizational goals. Often, these goals are driven by schedule and cost rather than quality.
This process requires the customer to use the organization's resources to achieve customer satisfaction. The customer must take the initiative to work with project teams in integrating customer requirements. The customer-driven project leader's purpose is to optimize the use of all resources through the use of people in customer-driven teams to meet objectives set by the customer. Total customer satisfaction is the most important objective of an integrating project organization. This places management's emphasis on internal operations focusing on the customer. This requires a greater concentration on all the management functions. In addition, this makes leadership essential to guide the teams. In customer-driven project management, strong people-oriented leadership and effective task-oriented management throughout the organization are both necessary to satisfy the customer.
In traditional organizations, production was usually more important than people. People were viewed as just another resource. They were just "slotted" into job functions as part of the organizing and staffing function of management. In the day-to-day operations of the project, the human resource like all other resources was to be minimized to maximize profit. In fact, as most organizations concentrated on the directing and controlling functions of management, they viewed people as just another commodity to be controlled by structuring, eliminating, and specializing.
In customer-integrated project management, people are the most important resource. People are the primary means to add value to a deliverable that is necessary when striving for total customer satisfaction. People are used on customer-driven teams, where they can best contribute. People not only need to perform the process, they are expected to continuously improve it. People are viewed as a valuable asset adding value to the product. This people resource must be developed by coaching, facilitating, training, and supporting.
These basic changes to traditional and project management, that form the foundation of customer-driven project management, evolved from a wide range of earlier management practices, manufacturing productivity enhancement, quality improvement efforts, and project management methodologies. Customer-driven project management uses the concepts that provide an organization the means to meet the many challenges of today, while ultimately moving the organization toward the future.
Was this article helpful?
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.