One of the company of our holding is trying to start a SharePoint 2010 project for ISO requirements. But we are having trouble finding good consultants that can do the project in a short period of time (2 Months). Most complicated part of that project is Work Flows. There will be extensive use of work flows, the IT Manager wants to automate many things that he can so that they can pass their ISO audit.
While I was this call I realized there are some things that consultants should/ shouldn`t do or be more careful. Sometimes consultant`s point of view and customer`s point of view could be very far away and it could take time for both parties to realize this.
So I start to note some of the things I picked from these meetings. I don`t know they are all true for most projects and I`m sure there are numerous things to consider. If you have some comments or additions please feel free to comment.
What Customer needs to see and understand in a proposal meeting ?
- Which step is doing what in the proposed project ?
- If you say complicated, simple, easy give example what they mean to you.
- In the end of the first phase of the proposed project, usually customer wants to see something working so that they can have believe in you.
- If you are trying to explain something use examples from your experiences.
- If you are explaining a technology that you are planing to use in the proposed project, also give other options that your are not using and explain why didn`t you choose these technologies.
- Give customer some options, for example your solution might be an expensive one but if you give customer another cheaper way by doing just the core functions that they need. You can then make then sign a contract for future technical consultancy. By this way at least you wont lose the customer, also there is a high probability they will call you back even after you finish your project.
- If you need to use Third-Party tools don`t hesitate to present them on your proposal, and explain why are you presenting them and what they can bring in to the project.
- Try to hold the meeting on track, usually it is very easy to get off track. Then suddenly you find yourself discussing totally different topic and at the end of the meeting customer says “we didn`t get anything from this meeting” or “so can you do this project or not”.
- Try to use whiteboard as much as possible. Explain business work flows by work flow diagrams.
- Always schedule dates for further communication, and to do items.
- Don`t fill your presentation with to much text, use charts and diagrams.
(Gantt Diagram for Project Planning).