Way back in the day, project scope was easier to define – plow that field, build that wall, dig that ditch, butcher the calf. Now, we have process flow diagrams, business value maps, PMP certificates, waterfall methodologies, and scrum masters.
I have a good friend who married a lady from the Philippines and even after 5+ years of marriage, they still have some English-to-redneck translation issues. I guess they don’t teach redneck slang in the Philippines.
Everything is much more complex than it used to be. Last week, I was engaging with a customer to clearly define the scope of their project. The objective of this meeting was to map the critical business processes within their manufacturing and office environments. They wanted to upgrade their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, as well as taking a look at their business as a whole to see where improvements can be made. In order to successfully implement this project, there are multiple parties involved:
It was clear our customer knew the correct steps to make this an effective meeting – document where we are first, identify the gaps, and then prioritize projects to get quick value.
We have found that the best way for everyone to be on the same page is to share examples or get on a white board. Pictures really do speak a thousand words. We also have to credit the customer with being transparent enough to suggest that we get on the phone with the ERP vendor to make sure we are on the same page with our deliverables and respective needs.
In the end, in-person communication still trumps phone conversations, and phone conversations still trump email. Make sure everyone is clear on what is being said and what will get produced.
Work hard to make modern technical communication as clear as it was back in the day.
Proud husband & father. Purdue grad. Adrenaline junkie. Handyman. Enjoys trying new things.