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Topics: Stakeholder Management
Have you managed projects where you never meet the customer?
I'm working for a support and advocacy organization for military veterans. The program is a digital transformation with several projects within it. The end customer is ultimately veterans who receive better services through enabling technology and staff that work in better ways to support these veterans. It just struck me that I may never meet the end customer. Have you had a similar experience?
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Nov 22, 2019 3:11 PM
Replying to Victor Ginoba
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Hello Sante,

I agree with Rami. Meeting the end customer at least once will help to build rapport and make the project go smoother (even if it's just lunch).
Hi Victor, I agree, whenever possible (if it's possible).
Nov 22, 2019 3:21 PM
Replying to Luis Branco
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Dear Sante
There are techniques that allow us to get end customer feedback among them:
- Focus group
- Questionnaires to a representative sample of the universe
- Interviews

Of course, collecting and processing information has an associated cost.
May not be foreseen under the project
But it's worth having end-user feedback

Conducting such studies may result in cost savings to the project sponsor.
Luis, add to those: Dephi, observation, and documentary analysis (of past projects with similar or identical customers).
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1 reply by Luis Branco
Nov 24, 2019 4:04 AM
Luis Branco
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Dear Sante
I would like to know what is the similarity between the techniques and tools that I proposed and these of your answer.

Ah ... I already forgot that answering by answering (even if it doesn't make sense) to increase influence :-)
Yes and unfortunately the customer is the most important feedback in any project rollout and testing phase but is the stakeholder that time and time again is overlooked. In Government based projects the motivation is normal pollical, partially to do with pressure groups and the response is normally "get a solution in place, yesterday". That means often only some of the requirements of the customers are satisfied and implemented. In the private sector, this is normal the direct opposite as customer engagement equals increased revenue, either through increased sales, improvements in efficient or reduction in headcount. Sadly this does not looking like changing anytime soon so the intended beneficiary of the projects implementations is the least involved of all the project actors.
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Nov 23, 2019 1:43 PM
Sante Vergini
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Yes Daire, it's a strange dichotomy. Thanks for your feedback.
Nov 23, 2019 1:30 PM
Replying to Daire Guiney
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Yes and unfortunately the customer is the most important feedback in any project rollout and testing phase but is the stakeholder that time and time again is overlooked. In Government based projects the motivation is normal pollical, partially to do with pressure groups and the response is normally "get a solution in place, yesterday". That means often only some of the requirements of the customers are satisfied and implemented. In the private sector, this is normal the direct opposite as customer engagement equals increased revenue, either through increased sales, improvements in efficient or reduction in headcount. Sadly this does not looking like changing anytime soon so the intended beneficiary of the projects implementations is the least involved of all the project actors.
Yes Daire, it's a strange dichotomy. Thanks for your feedback.
Nov 22, 2019 12:30 PM
Replying to Sante Vergini
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Hi Andrew, it becomes an interesting situation when something goes wrong. Contracts may be in place for those representatives to capture what the customers want/need, but often it's a gray area who is responsible when things go wrong. Do you find that is sometimes the case?
No, not really. There are roles in place with the responsibility to be the voice of the customer. The contracts in place incorporate that premise, as in the validation is from the basis of the client, not the customer.
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Nov 23, 2019 4:04 PM
Sante Vergini
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Agreed, but interpretation is not defined in contracts, and that is where a lot of issues arise ;-)
Nov 23, 2019 3:02 PM
Replying to Andrew Craig
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No, not really. There are roles in place with the responsibility to be the voice of the customer. The contracts in place incorporate that premise, as in the validation is from the basis of the client, not the customer.
Agreed, but interpretation is not defined in contracts, and that is where a lot of issues arise ;-)
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1 reply by Andrew Craig
Nov 23, 2019 5:43 PM
Andrew Craig
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Those interpretations, assuming you are referring to the ‘actual customer’ would be outside the scope of the contract. The contract is in place to satisfy the needs of the organization, whether or not that includes direct or indirect, perceived or not, customer needs.
Hi Sante, I do not have exactly the same experience but definitely feel the spotlight here is about your end customers and any ex-servicemen/women - they are NO-ordinary!
Tough to put emotions aside, I cannot wait for you to share the rest of your journey with the community here!
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Nov 23, 2019 4:23 PM
Sante Vergini
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Thanks Suzi. It's a great bunch of people. I'm happy to be involved even indirectly in making a difference in their lives.
Nov 23, 2019 4:10 PM
Replying to Suzi MS
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Hi Sante, I do not have exactly the same experience but definitely feel the spotlight here is about your end customers and any ex-servicemen/women - they are NO-ordinary!
Tough to put emotions aside, I cannot wait for you to share the rest of your journey with the community here!
Thanks Suzi. It's a great bunch of people. I'm happy to be involved even indirectly in making a difference in their lives.
Nov 23, 2019 4:04 PM
Replying to Sante Vergini
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Agreed, but interpretation is not defined in contracts, and that is where a lot of issues arise ;-)
Those interpretations, assuming you are referring to the ‘actual customer’ would be outside the scope of the contract. The contract is in place to satisfy the needs of the organization, whether or not that includes direct or indirect, perceived or not, customer needs.
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Nov 23, 2019 7:34 PM
Sante Vergini
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Indeed it is outside the scope of contracts, and within the scope of the project. The trick is to deliver what the customer wants while dealing with third parties.
Nov 23, 2019 5:43 PM
Replying to Andrew Craig
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Those interpretations, assuming you are referring to the ‘actual customer’ would be outside the scope of the contract. The contract is in place to satisfy the needs of the organization, whether or not that includes direct or indirect, perceived or not, customer needs.
Indeed it is outside the scope of contracts, and within the scope of the project. The trick is to deliver what the customer wants while dealing with third parties.
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