01 Mar Why are Partnership Inspired Projects Successful?
Sometimes a question can become a compliment. For example a client or fellow consultant occasionally inquires about the secret to our success. We aren’t perfect (more on that later), but we do enjoy a high degree of customer and consultant satisfaction. Our timely and cost-efficient projects deliver business value. In an industry susceptible to dramatic overspending, staff turnover, and public project failures, we’re proud of our steady track record. In fact it may be our lack of secrets that deserves the credit.
It all starts with a grounded approach. An initial step towards a successful project is listening to gain a thorough understanding of our clients’ opportunities. While the application of best practices is an important consideration in every business process, they are too often used as an excuse for not being flexible enough to meet requirements. We don’t believe there is a “one size fits all” solution or that we should dictate what a client needs.
The next important consideration in client satisfaction is reasonable expectations. Multi phase projects with meaningful scope enable the project team to make headway, allow continuous improvement, and provide client options throughout the project. Projects are planned based upon the actual tasks to be completed, but also consider real-life considerations like month-end close cycles, vacations, or a potential software glitch that could cause delays.
Finally, it is important to recognize that no project will be flawless. We have great clients and SAP provides excellent software, but none of us are perfect. There will be bumps in the project and defects to be solved along the way. By communicating this honestly up front and remaining calm and diligent in overcoming incidents we can make progress despite adversity.
Although it is terribly frustrating when we don’t have resources available to fulfill a client opportunity, we have remained obstinate in offering only top caliber, well known consultants while avoiding the subcontractor merry-go-round. 97% of our work is done by partners with an ownership stake in our company where annual turnover is less than 1%. We know and trust the consultants deployed on every project. They share fully in the rewards of a job well done, so have little motivation to pursue other opportunities. This avoids disruption to clients.
Our local geographical focus is also mutually beneficial to our clients and consultants. We are deeply interested in the success of our clients as we enjoy long-term relationships and want to come back for future opportunities. We take pride in cheering our clients’ success stories, and can easily transition onto future projects with our shared history. Sharing a timezone and working side-by-side supports project efficiency and agility.
Returning to the topic of imperfection, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We like to keep an upbeat and positive attitude on the job. This is important for avoiding burnout in the high stress world of software implementation projects. By expecting the unexpected we can keep an even disposition. Shifting the focus to finding solutions rather than placing blame when challenges are encountered also keeps our relationships healthy and productive.
Perhaps at the end of the day partnership-inspired solutions are successful primarily because they join the collective power of strong clients and consultants on the same side of the fight to realize business opportunities.