Project Management

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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 25, 2019 5:05 PM
Replying to LORI WILSON
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Hello Sante - I very rarely meet the vendors, the customers or even my teammates in person. I work virtually, and rarely even see my boss - maybe once a year! It seems to work well for me, though, and I've created some very strong relationships with many of these people!
Sounds great Lori. The virtual project manager is the way it's heading...I hope.
3 years ago i managed a project in Afghanistan in a milatary base installing some physical security systems and becouse of the nature of the place i didnt travel there and managed the project remotly without meeting the customer i searched for the contractors through internet and signed a contract and excuted and delivered the project without being on the site for a single day ..
its a little bit challanging situation but if your contracts are solid enough and your contractor was choosen carfully every thing will go smothly..
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Nov 26, 2019 12:06 AM
Sante Vergini
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That seems to be the most likely remedy; ensuring the contract is as air-tight as possible.
Nov 25, 2019 11:58 PM
Replying to Mohamed Habib
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3 years ago i managed a project in Afghanistan in a milatary base installing some physical security systems and becouse of the nature of the place i didnt travel there and managed the project remotly without meeting the customer i searched for the contractors through internet and signed a contract and excuted and delivered the project without being on the site for a single day ..
its a little bit challanging situation but if your contracts are solid enough and your contractor was choosen carfully every thing will go smothly..
That seems to be the most likely remedy; ensuring the contract is as air-tight as possible.
This is often the case when the ultimate customer is the general public, or a subset. My current project delivers new services and products to the Canadian Armed Force members and veterans. We used different approaches to "involve" our clients.

At the highest level, we have a user experience team that is responsible to lead useability testing across the development teams. They draw upon a pool of veterans and CAF members who agreed to help.

We also use personas and empathy maps as a way to keep our clients foremost in our thinking. I have "Mario", "Lisa" and "Dave" on my office wall to keep me in that mindset.
I have been in a similar situation where we had two third parties to interact but we could not meet the final customer. Their excuse for us not meeting with the customer was mainly language (customer did not want to speak English) but it was indeed a "political" issue, cannot say more. The project was eventually a disaster and it was stopped five months after the start. The relationship with the end customer was seriously at risk.
Dear Sante
Is it possible, through the technology used, to know what they are like and what are the wishes of the customers?

I am convinced that some social networks can, from the extracted customer data, have the profile of each of them

Is there a social network in your target group?

Do you have technology to extract your customer data?
Dear Sante,
Yes I do. Currently on an industry level in leading research, development and innovation for the entire mining industry, as well as at national level, participating in initiatives for rejuvenating and stimulating socio-economic aspects for the country. Furthermore, gold and platinum mines never encounter their end-user client base at all.
Many infrastructure projects like Dams ,highways, or research projects where confidentialities are involved,the projects gets planned ,get executed and established though there are end users ( who can be viewed as customers) there is no immediate customer with whom you interact as customer.
I have worked on many community projects where though there was end user there was not immediate customer.
regards
Mohan
Dear Sante Vergini, Greetings!

I am sure you are loyal to several people whom you never meet; I assume the people you are following might not have interacted with you personally and the list is much more..

I believe meeting in person with end customers is just another dimension of satisfaction where we feel more confident in dealing with requirements.

I have rolled out organization wide SOX processes implementation program and ITSM automation initiatives, other than the applications roll out i managed, globally.

I feel once you close eyes and concentrated on given agreements, end customers are equally happy with you.

Connect me personally, in case if you have further issues in similar situations, i will help you reaching in good state.

regards

Anurag Chaturvedi/ India
Yes,

it is important to understand that the role of customer (the one who pays) and user (the one who is affected by your product) are different.

It is a simplification when both are the same which makes life easier for the project (and is a a prereq for the use of agile, with absence of politics and all having aligned goals).

Regardless of user needs, if the customer wants something the project has to deliver it. Customers need not have the best intention for users in mind (think prison admin, think Corona tracking app).
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