Project Management

Project Management Central

Please login or join to subscribe to this thread

How do you deal with a Customer who refuses to sign change orders and a Sales team that allows this behavior to occur?
Anonymous
Fit to be tied. Need to know if anyone else has had to deal with Sales Teams that allow customers to go out of scope/budget and not sign change orders? It might just be our company culture, but in this environment sales has the power to accept internal change orders and allow the customer to go off the rails. I have documented and have escalated but it continues to occur.
Sort By:
Page: 1 2 next>
It looks like your sales team is "approving" the changes, at least in the customer's eyes. Why should the customer want to sign anything if the sales rep already agreed?

If you can't get the customer to come to you, instead of the sales team, and you can't get the sales team to stop agreeing to changes, then you have to live with the situation. In that case, keep on documenting the changes and their impact on your project. Make sure the sales team and customers are aware of the "cost" of these changes. (The cost could be reduced/delayed scope, longer schedule or reduce profit.)
Dear Anonymous

Interesting your question
Thanks for your sharing

It seems that we are facing a situation related to Project Governance

I think it is a topic that has to be analyzed by management
This is fairly common in organizations where there isn't alignment between sales teams and delivery teams. The only solution is to escalate this behavior to a high enough level that sales teams start to have their incentives tied to successful delivery outcomes and post-delivery customer satisfaction.

Kiron
...
1 reply by Eileen Stickline
Feb 18, 2020 9:05 AM
Eileen Stickline
...
Thank you Kiron for your response. I agree that the issue is best addressed by management. In the discussion, it is important to include the potential negative impact to the project and the strain that is placed on your relationship with the client.
The additional communication channel between the sales team and the customer, may be temporarily appeasing to the customer, but often leads to scope, time, and cost misinformation. You will be spending additional time managing that channel of communication.
There can often, unfortunately, be a misalignment b/t Sales and Execution. Why? Commissions. Get the sale, keep them happy at any cost, let the 'other side' deal with figuring it out. Not a good approach for sustainability and success. Good luck.
A sales guy and a project manager are on a safari, sleeping in a hut. In the morning the sales guy goes outside and rushes back in chased by a lion. He jumps out the window and yells to the project manager: finish this one, I am going to get the next.

Clash of interests. Sales guys are not a project manager's best friends, even if they smile at you.
Do some stakeholder analysis and come up with strategies to mitigate this risk. In my experience escalation does not help, the upper level often plays a divide and conquer game.

That is why the role of the partner in consulting companies is important, responsible and payed for both signings and delivery. Or the role of a program manager taking care of benefits beyond sales.
...
1 reply by Stéphane Parent
Feb 15, 2020 3:59 PM
Stéphane Parent
...
ROFL! It reminds me of the salesman, the engineer and the programmer driving to a company conference. They get a flat tire on the highway. As the three of them stand on the side of the road, staring at the flat, the salesman sighs "we need a new car!" The engineer says "we could take some air from the remaining tires and put it in this one..." The programmer looks to the right, then to the left, and exclaims "why don't we just drive on, maybe nobody will notice?"
Feb 15, 2020 9:17 AM
Replying to Thomas Walenta
...
A sales guy and a project manager are on a safari, sleeping in a hut. In the morning the sales guy goes outside and rushes back in chased by a lion. He jumps out the window and yells to the project manager: finish this one, I am going to get the next.

Clash of interests. Sales guys are not a project manager's best friends, even if they smile at you.
Do some stakeholder analysis and come up with strategies to mitigate this risk. In my experience escalation does not help, the upper level often plays a divide and conquer game.

That is why the role of the partner in consulting companies is important, responsible and payed for both signings and delivery. Or the role of a program manager taking care of benefits beyond sales.
ROFL! It reminds me of the salesman, the engineer and the programmer driving to a company conference. They get a flat tire on the highway. As the three of them stand on the side of the road, staring at the flat, the salesman sighs "we need a new car!" The engineer says "we could take some air from the remaining tires and put it in this one..." The programmer looks to the right, then to the left, and exclaims "why don't we just drive on, maybe nobody will notice?"
...
2 replies by Gurpreet Singh Kapoor and Scott Theus
Feb 17, 2020 1:28 PM
Scott Theus
...
...and the project manager is in the car, looking at their watch.
Feb 20, 2020 7:35 AM
Gurpreet Singh Kapoor
...
LOL guys.
Andrew is correct, this is the symptom of sacrificing quality/value/ethics on the altar of the mighty dollar. We, unfortunately, have a lot of companies that advocate and actively promote the 'recognize the revenue at all cost'. In such an environment the project team is merely a team of workers who does what they are told. Personal experience have taught me that it is diffuclt, if not impossible, to change this.
Feb 15, 2020 3:59 PM
Replying to Stéphane Parent
...
ROFL! It reminds me of the salesman, the engineer and the programmer driving to a company conference. They get a flat tire on the highway. As the three of them stand on the side of the road, staring at the flat, the salesman sighs "we need a new car!" The engineer says "we could take some air from the remaining tires and put it in this one..." The programmer looks to the right, then to the left, and exclaims "why don't we just drive on, maybe nobody will notice?"
...and the project manager is in the car, looking at their watch.
Until it is costly to upper management they won't work on the problem. For now, document the change and impacts, it might come handy. Upper management what to increase the business $, sales work for them on that, project need to execute until upper manager realize some non-sense that get in the sales.

I was once confronted with sales that, was not possible to deliver. Lucky for me I was managing both sales and project management. The sale was lost! and the commission.
Dear Anonymous,

I would first look at the relationship between the sales team and customers who are refusing to sign change orders. Is the sales team commission based? Some further investigation is required to see if it is the same customer(s) over and over again are the ones who are refusing to sign the change order. Is the sales team encouraging this practice. Why is a change allowed to occur without a signed change order as this leave the whole organisation and the customer legal responsible with little or no recourse if it goes to court. Also how is senior management looking at this practice. In most organizations this would be a fire able offense and at the very least a written warning to the employee(s) responsible for this practice. You are right to bring this to peoples attention. It is reminiscent of the financial meltdown in 2008 when nobody was held accountable as nobody had properly signed of any of the complex financial transactions. If you do not want to be seen as a whistle blower then the very least is to consult with your own legal council so that you are not held legal responsible for this practice. One final note is that auditors should have picked up on this practice and escalated to senior management. It could be a sign of other accountancy and processes irregularities at the organization.

Daire
Page: 1 2 next>  

Please login or join to reply

Content ID:
ADVERTISEMENTS

"New York is my Lourdes, where I go for spiritual refreshment; a place where you're least likely to be bitten by a wild goat."

- Brendan Behan

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsors