You can earn a billion - the main thing is to get it, or to coordinate the project results

    I think many readers are familiar with the following situation. You have completed work on a project or a key stage (for example, developed a system, wrote a technical project, prepared a design concept, etc.) In your opinion, everything is cool! The result is super, and the customer has no comments. Money to the studio!

    However, if you dig further, a number of coordinators have not yet looked at the results of your work. Others will not coordinate without endorsement by the owner of an adjacent system with which to integrate. And this song can last a very long time. Therefore, today we will talk about coordinating the results of work.

    Many people think that the main thing is to do their job well, and the money will come by themselves. However, in reality it is more important to coordinate the results of your work and getcustomer willingness to pay for your work. Of course, the main thing is to take the money, but other people who are not involved in the project are involved in solving problems with financing.

    For a long time I had to work on the side of contractors. Currently, I am on the other side of the barricades - on the customer side in a typical Russian corporation. Therefore, I would like to describe my view of this problem by the example of coordinating the results of an IT project in such a company. I hope that readers who work with smaller clients will find something useful for themselves in this article, because the basic principles of coordination are true for projects and customers of any scale.

    Typically, the reconciliation process looks like this:



    I will not describe the process in detail, I think, and so a simple scheme sufficiently reflects its essence. The main thing that should be taken from here is that the coordination process is multi - iterative . Do not entertain yourself with the illusions that you will do the work, the customer will review the results, you will make minor corrections, then he will think for a couple of days and sign the acts.
    I note that the results are understood as the developed information system, purchased licenses, system component, project documentation, measures taken (for example, training, stress testing), etc.
    The moment of acceptance of the results- This is a mega-deadline, when according to the plan the results of the work on the stage should be transmitted. This date is known to every member of the project team, as well as most customers.
    Performers can be both employees of the customer, and contractors.
    The coordinators include the project manager from the customer (RPG), the project manager from the executor (EPI), the functional customer (FS) and other business representatives, sometimes called the project working group, that is, those people who manage the project.
    Coordinators from the Customer - these include coordinators who also coordinate the results, as well as other persons of the company (IT employees, security personnel, etc.), without whose approval the results will not be approved.

    Good results or managing customer expectations


    So that creative people (designers, UI-specialists and others like them), who strive to make the world more beautiful by the fact that the results of their work will be enjoyed by many people and enjoy it, do not accuse me of trying to please the bureaucrats by killing element of creation and perfection, I publish this section.
    Once, one famous designer made the interior in the apartment of the ex-patriarch of the criminal world of Russia Ded Hassan, who was murdered a couple of years ago in the center of Moscow. Since the customer spent a long time in prisons, the author decided to make the design in dark colors, as a reminder of the places where his client received respect and authority. However, after seeing the result, the customer was very upset and ordered the return of $ 70 thousand, which were prepaid for the work. Probably the interior was very beautifully decorated, had an unusual concept, but the contractor did not meet the customer's expectations, and failed the project.
    Sighting for a good result and the ability to manage customer expectations are two different things. Within one project, one group expects to receive bonuses for a successful project, the other is not motivated for this project and wants not to be touched, and others understand that if the project is successful, their staff will be reduced in their branch, so they expect the project to fail. In order to succeed, the coordinators need to solve these two problems: to develop a good product, and also to manage expectations.

    When to start acceptance?


    1. On the one hand, it is not necessary to perfect the work before showing it to the customer (I note that perfectionism is inherent in very many IT specialists). All the same, you will have to correct and modify it, only you will spend your time and energy in vain. When you give all your best, but do not achieve a result, your motivation is lost.
    2. On the other hand, you cannot show the customer a raw version. This will cause a negative, the client will say that for the garbage you slipped me. And next time, when he will be shown a normal modified version, he will not want to delve into the essence of the result.
    3. When the results will be of normal quality, you can send them for approval.
    4. The sooner and the more representatives of the customer will be involved in the project, the faster acceptance will end.


    What is the time to lay on acceptance?

    At least 30-50%, which was spent on the development of the first version, should be allotted for coordination and finalization of the results. It happens that coordination and refinement takes more time than development. It is foolish to hope that you developed project documents, for example, for the “Analysis and Design” phase for three months (60+ working days), and agree on it for 5-10 working days.



    Harmonization Success Factors


    To successfully coordinate the results at each stage of the project, I highlight several factors that, in my opinion, ensure the success or failure of this process.
    1. On the customer side, there is at least one person (group of persons) who is quite strongly involved in the project and has a great influence on all the negotiators.
    2. For each stage, a list of results should be defined. For each result, a list of coordinators must be defined.
      To resolve this issue, I propose using a matching matrix.
    3. Defined, and better regulated, the process of harmonizing results. The negotiators are informed about the approval procedure.
    4. A quick process for collecting and working out comments has been established.
    5. You know how to separate the grain from the chaff: you quickly recognize what goes beyond the scope of the project and know how to manage changes
    6. The presence of a strong curator (if you are on the side of the contractor), who will help in communicating with the customer, if the agreement does not move forward.
    7. You have disowned the work of the customer (again, if you are on the side of the contractor).


    Main factor


    You can be part of a mega cool team that can develop the most complex systems for the largest customers, but if the dark side prevails on the side of the next customer, which has strong positions within the company and which is negatively tuned to your project, then the completion of any stage will be given to you hardly. Not to mention the fact that your project will never end or stall at the start.
    Therefore, in large projects, political relations with various "clans" of the customer, representatives from outside (government agencies, contractors of previous systems) who are interested / extremely not interested in the success of the project are often of much greater importance than the ability of the project team to do its job - to develop the product ( do a favour).

    Once again I recall the wording:
    On the customer side, there is at least one person (group of persons) who is quite strongly involved in the project and has a great influence on all the negotiators
    .

    Consider a typical project coordinator structure.



    In order for the results to be accepted, they must be approved by key coordinators. Key negotiators typically delegate coordination work to their subordinates.

    So, your project can be included in the KPI for a number of Departments (that is, representatives of this department are motivated). For a functional customer, this is almost always a priori. For other persons who must agree on the results, it does not bear any benefit, and for the third group of persons it causes great problems. For example, the system being implemented requires strengthening the IT infrastructure, and moreover, when implemented, it can cause problems in the work of other services, and the IT unit responsible for the infrastructure is not ready to improve now, so it will in every way slow down this project.

    Based on the influence and involvement of your “support group” on the customer side, there may be a development scenario.
    1. Your “support group” (on the customer side) is very interested and actively participates in the project, but has a small weight. As a result, you will encounter inaction of the indifferent and the resistance of the dark forces. You may have to escalate the problems to the "mega boss", which will help to move the sluggish current process.
    2. Your “support group”, for example, a functional customer has a lot of weight in the company, he has good motivation, a big KPI for this project, but he has little time , his usual operational activities take up all the working time. Therefore, he has no time even to conduct preliminary acceptance of the results, not to mention his participation in political processes. Accordingly, your main task is to involve him in the intricacies of the project.
    3. Your “support group” does not have a strong influence, and is not very interested in the project. This is the worst option, I think you should not describe the deplorable consequences.
    4. The most favorable option. Your support group is both influential and interested and active. So despite all sorts of difficulties, everything will be fine with you! This is the main criterion for successful coordination, in my opinion.

    The exit is where the entrance

    On a recent project, we worked with a large international consulting company, which experienced difficulties with one of the Departments, which also had to coordinate the results, but did not want to participate in the project. It turned out that this project was not included in their KPI. In the process of communication, the consultants of this company told me that, in fact, they have a rule not to enter the project if KPI is not allocated to one of the key managers who should participate in the project.

    Before you enter to enter into any project, it’s worth considering once again, what is the alignment of forces in the company, and what is the relationship of each of them to the upcoming project.

    The financial side of the issue

    And finally. As you know, you have to pay for your mistakes.
    Let's calculate what will happen if you make a mistake in the forecasts for coordination and refine the results at your own expense? How much will it cost you? The rates are given for Moscow, they are even slightly underestimated.
    I counted the results for project teams ranging in size from 3 to 10 people for different periods of delay (2 weeks, a month, 1.5 months).



    For example, due to the fault of the customer, a project team of 5 people is forced to work out comments for another month.
    If you had pledged reserves for approval in advance and included them in the estimate, then you would have received 2.2 million rubles from the Customer.

    Otherwise, you have lost 660 thousand rubles. Either +2.2 million, or - 660 thousand. Do you feel the difference?

    The next part of the article will describe in detail the approval procedure, as well as other criteria for the success of this process.

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