Beginning any project can be a challenging task. However, one of the most important aspects that you need to address is the ability to establish clarity and a working rapport with any client. What are ten things that you should ask during the planning stages?
The Time Frame?
You need to know when the project is expected to be completed by. After that, you will be able to modify your own work schedule to meet their needs. Keeping in line with their time frame is the hallmark of a reliable provider.
Cost is always the bottom line. What does their budget entail and will it cover your expenses during the operation? Should this not be asked, you may find yourself paying out-of-pocket costs for a contractual obligation.
The Goals of the Client?
What is the ultimate goal of the project? With this level of clarity, you will be better able to meet the discrete requirements of the customer. Furthermore, they will see that you have prioritised their desires. This is the foundation of a good working relationship.
What is His or Her Availability?
Will the client be available for consultation on a regular basis? This is another critical question, for you must always assume that questions will arise during the project. Should they be difficult to contact, the completion time could be significantly delayed. Once again, this can cause grave financial concerns.
The Role They Wish to Play?
How active are they within the project? In other words, will they be taking a hands-on approach or a more passive role? This relationship should be clearly defined; unexpected interference can otherwise occur. If the client wishes to adopt a proactive stance, it is important that they are kept abreast during every step.
Their Financial Flexibility?
There are often times when an initial budget will need to be increased. This could be due to unforeseen time extensions, more expensive materials or even a change in the direction of the project itself. By appreciating how financially flexible the client is, you will be well aware of the choices that you have in the future.
Their Role in the Decision-Making Process?
To put it another way, is the client the primary decision maker for his or her firm or are other stakeholders involved (superiors or management, for instance)? The reason that this needs to be determined is because it is always optimal for you to communicate with the “powers that be” to avoid miscommunication or misinterpretations.
Their Temporal Flexibility?
Much in the same way as finances, it is also important to understand how flexible the time frame of your client is. Once again, this will have a direct impact on your approach to the project. Also, you are able to develop milestones along the way; illustrating to the client the progress that has already been made.
Their Other Commitments?
There may be times when a client becomes sidelined with other concerns. This could be detrimental to any project; particularly if you require their regular input. So, make certain to understand any other distractions that they may have.
Their Future Projects?
An excellent way to build rapport is to appreciate if they have other projects scheduled in the future. Not only will you further understand the scope of their operations, but you may very well be laying the groundwork for an unspoken commitment down the line.
These are ten questions which should always be prioritised before undertaking any project that requires communication on both sides. By appreciating the answers to each, you will be given the insight and the clarity to make the most appropriate choices at the best times.
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