My Defining Customer Moments

I was recently asked to share some customer moments. One of my defining customer moments was during a project we were doing more than 10 years ago. This was a very large elearning project to convert huge amount of content to elearning in a short period of time. The times were short of the volume of work and everyone was under severe pressure. This included our client contact, who was also under pressure from her stakeholders and customers. As happens in elearning projects, we were expecting to get content from SMEs. Our client was managing the SMEs and they were to provide the content. There were delays and we were having a rather tense call about how to ensure that the project will complete on time. Given the pressures, I also reacted saying the content has been delayed by SMEs and so we need more time. That’s when the client asked in a terse voice as to who is project managing the project? “We are paying you for project management and you now expect me to ensure content is on time?” For a few moments I wasn’t sure what hit me and how to react. It was quite a defining moment of how I view the responsibilities of a project that we undertake.
Lately I have also been working with a lot of government departments in India. It’s been a different experience from working with mostly US-based enterprises. The most common challenge is getting signoffs. However that’s not really my key learning. What I have figured while working with government clients is primarily two things:
1) Think big. The problems government is trying to solve are really big problems, be it at country level or at state level.
2) Align yourself with the government official’s vision of the scheme and work towards the success of the scheme, irrespective of the scope of your project. Always have the bigger picture of what the scheme is trying to achieve. Remember, if the scheme succeeds, your project succeeds, and it will result in long term continuing projects. If your project succeeds but the scheme doesn’t, there will be no future projects.
What have your defining customer moments? Do share here.