Whether a project is a few months long or a few years long, delivering on-time and on-budget to avoid a major project failure is a key concern for all stakeholders involved. Gartner estimates that 55% to 75% of all ERP projects fail to meet their objectives. If over half of projects are failing, what’s the missing link? Where are these implementations breaking down?
Accountability is a key component of on-time execution for any project plan. Managers are armed with tactics and tools to keep their team members accountable, but what happens when their team extends beyond the organization? What if the challenge lies with a customer or a partner? How do you manage accountability across your internal team and external stakeholders so you can work together towards your goals?
There’s a delicate balance required when managing a project that involves external stakeholders. On one hand, you’re delivering a service and you want your customers and partners to have a positive experience working with you and your team. On the other hand, you have deliverables and deadlines you need to meet, and doing so requires a few lifts on their end. How do you provide excellent customer service while still delivering on-time and on-budget?
Three Tips to Ensure Accountability with Customers & Partners
1. Set Expectations Early and Often
Establish clear and visible requirements and roles. Make sure your partners and customers know exactly what is going to be expected of them before the project even begins. By setting the expectations before you get started, you’ll eliminate surprises during the project lifecycle and allow customers to appropriately plan their resources. Use a tool to communicate, track ownership, and manage progress so that the entire team has immediate, secure access and insight to keep them engaged and informed throughout the process.
2. Gather Commitments from Customers & Partners
Communicating requirements is the first step, but oftentimes, that’s where the effort stops. Simply communicating requirements is not enough. Tasks must be accepted by the owner to ensure timely follow-through. This is especially true when working with someone outside of your internal team. By making acceptance a required step of your process and project plan, you’ll increase the likelihood that tasks will be completed on time and reduce the need for constant reminders because there’s clear ownership from the beginning.
3. Communicate Impacts and Potential Delays
If you are concerned that a customer or partner might be slipping behind on a task, make sure you are conveying how their participation is impacting the rest of the project. If their task will cause a ripple of delays throughout the rest of the project, don’t hesitate to let them know. Customers and partners might not be embedded in the day-to-day operations of the project like your internal team, so a little extra emphasis on the connectivity of tasks might be all you need to give them an extra push to ensure tasks are completed before deadlines.
While it might be uncomfortable to press a customer or partner to get their tasks completed on time, remember this is a common goal. It’s better to have a direct, data-driven discussion than risk potential delays or roadblocks. Your organization has been hired to make sure the project gets across the finish line and accountability is the missing link that will deliver you there.
Moovila offers a streamlined solution to manage and promote accountability within project plans. Moovila requires acceptance of specific tasks from your team and your clients and additionally offers a transparent network of communication and progress so you stay on track.