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10 top tips for project success: Understand your client

how to run successful projects - understand your client

In the previous post in this series on project success, we explored the importance of understanding success and how it relates to clients and our agency, particularly with regards to business objectives. An important aspect worth diving deeper into is how this relates to our clients as individuals. We can lead into success by knowing the people we’re delivering to. This goes beyond an org chart and understanding reporting lines and job titles, it’s understanding their ambitions, motivations and goals.

Happy clients make happy projects

Everyone wants an easy life, and clients are no exception. Clients don’t want to have to worry about budgets, timelines and scope, they just want solutions. They want to rest in the knowledge that you’ve got it sorted. They want to know everything’s going to be ok. And they need to know that the work you’re doing for them is going to deliver the results they need. So be solutions focussed and make sure they don’t have to worry. Let them know that you’ve got it all covered. And then make sure you deliver on that and communicate to them and explain what you’ve done to keep everything in check.

With the basics covered on delivery, meeting their strategic objectives, and making their life easy, remember they’ve got personal ambitions of their own.  Delivering a project successfully is in part contingent on understanding and meeting your client’s personal goals. How can you help them get to where they need to go? How can you create the results that they need to show? Help them flourish and achieve their personal career ambitions. Are they interested in winning awards? Do they want to see their name in the industry press? Do they want to explore some bleeding-edge tech? Work together as a team to make that happen.

Check out:  Digital PM Summit 12th - 15th Oct 2016, San Antonio

We are in the rockstar-making business

As much you might be a far more likely candidate than your client to be the next Bieber, we’re talking about the client here. It’s simple, make them look good.  Beyond delivering the basics of the project and then delivering real strategic value, this means understanding what you can do to make your client be even more awesome. Think of yourself as their PR agency – what can you do to make them shine?  This starts with understanding their business and brand and then finding opportunities to enhance the work you’re already doing with them so that they look like a rock star – just remember that your goal is to make them look good.

Be a partner, not a vendor

When you properly understand and work collaboratively with your clients, it will oil the wheels of the process and enable you to predict their reactions, streamline communication and mitigate against unexpected additional requirements or unpredictable budgeting issues. Most importantly, it’s more enjoyable for everyone. They’ll feel like you’re doing a good job and value you – you’ll reap the benefits of being your client’s right-hand man. Understand your clients’ need and deliver to their expectation. And when you’re done, a satisfied client who feels understood, will reciprocate and keep coming back for more!

What do you think?

What do you think? How important is an understanding of our clients to ensuring project success? I’d love to hear if you’ve got any thoughts on ensuring project success in digital project management. Join the conversation below and let us know what you’re thinking!

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and VP of Client Services at FCV, a full service digital agency in Vancouver, Canada. I've been in the industry for more than 10 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from video virals to CMS’, flash games to banner ads and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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