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The Changing Customer

by Braden Kelley

It feels as if the world is changing faster than ever before because the expectations of our customers—and our expectations as customers—are changing faster than ever before. Why?

Collaborating Across the Divide

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

We often collaborate with other people in our teams or in our organization, but how do you collaborate with clients or other organizations—or even with people not engaged in your project?

Hitting a Moving Target

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

It’s frustrating to work on projects when the client or the customer keeps moving the target you're trying to hit--whether that be requirements, a date or even the vision for the project. How does a project manager fight this moving target and still deliver on time?

Your Ethics or Mine?

by Andy Jordan

Not all clients are created ethically equal. When different organizations with different ethical approaches work together, how do you find a working relationship everyone is comfortable with?

Topic Teasers Vol. 72: Agile Customer Support

by Barbee Davis, MA, PHR, PMP, PMI-ACP

Question: We’re totally committed to agile as a methodology, and we think that is partially why we have now grown so big that we need to open a customer call center. However, my expertise is not in planning contact centers, so what is the current wisdom of how these need to function to satisfy customers?
A. Customer inquiries are best served by FAQ sites: online and well-written website summations of the products you offer and the way they function. Spend your money in this type of development, which is probably more comfortable for you anyway.
B. Most staff members are reluctant to move into customer support functions, so you will first need to make sure there are enough competent people who know about your offerings available for hire. Prepare hands-on tests to screen out those who do not already know your merchandise or service products.
C. Call centers are the most cost efficient way to deal with customer issues, but you should outsource this function as creating your own may be beyond the skill set you possess. Third-party providers are uniformly cheaper than an internal system.
D. First, determine if it’s in your organization’s best interest to create a call center or a contact center. They are two different things and have different pluses and minuses. Then consider a management style for the center based on the agile philosophy.
Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Challenges with DevOps Projects

by Rajakumar Ramakrishnan

When the business environment demands quicker turnaround time for business needs, approaches like DevOps help organizations meet them. At the same time, it also introduces additional challenges to project managers. In this article, we discuss what DevOps are--and the additional challenges that need to be handled by PMs when they adopt them in their projects.

Getting Past the Application Project

by Kenneth Darter, PMP

The project is complete when the product is delivered, but it is not successful unless the application can be used by operational units. So how do you get past the application project to a live operational environment?

How to Improve Application Delivery With Agile

by Bruce Harpham

Many technology project managers focus on building or improving applications. Businesses rely on reliable and high-quality applications to serve customers and maintain operations. If you are in the business of application delivery, read on to see how agile can help.

Successfully Managing Project Expectations: The Key to Project Success

by Marc Lacroix

Every person in service delivery should ask themselves (and all involved) at the inception of every project: What is the definition of success for this project? It seems simple, but it is infrequently done. Here we look at five ways to manage project expectations.

Social Media: Where to Next?

by Michael Wood

What might the future look like, you ask? Here are some things to ponder as those wishing to command a greater percentage of our consumer spend are finding ways to “customize our experience" through exploiting the opportunities social media, big data analytics and mobility promise once properly integrated.

Customer Service Model Business Reengineering Project Plan

project plan

Putting together a whole new customer service model (CSM) is a challenge, particularly if you do it in less than a month. This sample report in Word is an in-depth analysis of a business problem re: customer service/helpdesk and a detailed set of recommendations and plan for how to reengineer the business to improve customer service operations.

Sales Productivity Checklist

checklist

Whether you are selling products and services or selling a project itself, it doesn't hurt to brush up on your sales skills.

CRM Assessment with Call Center Plan

PREMIUM project plan

Are your customers getting the service they want from your Call Center? Do you need to implement a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) package to improve Call Center service? Use this Microsoft Project plan to assess the fit of a CRM package into your business.

Traditional Job Competency Model

deliverable
by George Ball

Looking for a training tool that will evaluate as well as guide you? Here's an example of how to define and analyze basic job competency for a relationship management specialist.

Smart Training Performance Model

PREMIUM presentation

Based on Clay Carr's Smart Training concept, this PowerPoint presentation outlines the concept of performance and guides you through each step of the performance cycle.

Self-Documenting Code Checklist

checklist

Code is a developer's signature on a software project, and not all developers play by the rules of good coding standards. Ensure that your development team leaves a coding legacy that not only implements the application at hand but can be understood by others and maintained during future development cycles.

Requirements Traceability

deliverable

How do expectations and desires become a project? Use these worksheets to transform objectives into concrete requirements and steps that can be accounted for throughout the project.

Test Sign-Off Form

deliverable

Has your system been properly tested by phase (unit, integration, user acceptance), and do you have the formal sign-off of approval to proceed?

Sample RM Package Vendor RFI

deliverable

Are you about to select a commercial Relationship Management application? State exactly what you need. This thoroughly constructed sample RFI to solicit application package information from vendors will save you hours of work. Modify it to suit your requirements.

Integration Test Plan Outline

deliverable

Here is a solid outline of a plan for testing individual development components in context with the overall system.

Quality Assurance Assessment Checklists

PREMIUM checklist

This thorough and detailed assessment is a series of five checklists designed to guide you through the entire project lifecycle from start to finish: planning, analysis, design, construction and implementation.

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