Why project catch ups are so fundamental in technology projects?

Written by: Fae Sarshoghi

One of the best parts of my job is sitting with our customers and getting them to talk about what they’re experiencing during and after an AV Technology project. Although this can be challenging from time to time. In the professional world, we all tend to be polite and care for each other. I know you might be witnessing an argument in your office right when you’re reading these lines, but even the two parties who’re injecting some unwanted excitement to your afternoon tend to respect each other in a less rough day, don’t they?

There have been situations when I’ve sat across the table from a client who’s been overly frustrated by what’s been going on in their project, and I’ve still been told that everything is going well. They prefer not to talk about their real concerns since they’re worried it ruins someone’s reputation, or causes someone trouble, or simply because they don’t want to make a bad impression.

What I usually do in these situations, is to give them the peace of mind that what they are sharing with us, would be treated with privacy. But what is even more important, is the fact that by these project catch ups we are actually looking for the potential issues with the procedures, not with the people. If a person is not delivering what they are expected to do, there is nothing wrong with that person and their capabilities, the issue actually lies somewhere within the process, either it’s the project planning and resourcing, inaccuracies in documentation, gaps in the requirements, or just basically lack of communication.

Some people see these catch ups as a waste of time. I’m talking about people who are going through early mornings, late nights, and a considerable amount of stress to finish a job as per the program. That short session they have with me, might mean a 30 minutes distraction they can’t afford to have. In this person’s view it certainly doesn’t make sense to sit for half an hour with a marketing chick, to talk about the project. “The job doesn’t get done by talking about it”. This is when I start badgering them to meet with me. After doing something for a while, we get a sense for it, and now I think I have a sense for these meetings. I know for sure, that the person who hesitates to talk about a project the most, is actually the one who really needs to talk about it.

What I keep telling our customers is that we’re not after a nice pleasant feedback. I know I always look classy, but I come to these meetings ready to be punched in the face. konnectus is not the type of company that needs ratings. We’re not desperate for more and more reviews. Word of mouth and social proof is a matter of priority only in our Marketing discussions. When we are working on a customer project, our one and only priority is to make sure that the customer is taking what they expect out of that project. For us, this is the whole point of having a feedback gathering catch up during a project with key people in the project team.

Another reason why we are very strict about these catch ups, is that with technology, things are not as obvious as they are with other aspects of a construction project. To the project manager and rest of the project team which happen to be a not very technical majority, technology at the time of construction is just a bunch of cables, plates, and outlets. With technology, you don’t know if the instalment is being done properly and if it is going to work flawless, unless you have a technology expert overseeing your project and constantly being in communication with you.

When a project starts, clients, contractors, and consultants they all start with high hopes and want to make that project one of their best. No one starts a project thinking that “okay, I am going to ruin this one like no one’s ever messed up a project before”. We all start by high expectations from ourselves and from everyone else. But when the engines start and wheels get rolling, the priorities change, the unforeseen gets seen, the planning might get affected, and the high hopes get sacrificed for realistic acceptable outcomes. What gets neglected is the fact that the amount of communication among the project team becomes less and less as the project moves from the early stages towards the middle; and well no wonder why near the project completion, people hear themselves saying things like “do I really need to say it? Isn’t it obvious enough? I thought we talked about this?”

It’s like my friend who takes me for motor bike rides and knows how overly scared I am, suddenly decides to stop sharing with me where we are heading, what speed we’re going to ride at, or that we’re approaching a speed bump. The same goes true with the project work. There is no such thing as enough communication. We are not Donald Trump, we won’t cause any harm to the world if we talk. So, let’s keep talking!

Leisure and politics aside, we see these project catch ups as a way to  ensure we haven’t lost track of the ideal outcome. We might not hit the stars, but we definitely shoot higher than just closing a project and rushing to the next one. We start a project with everything being about our customer, and this is just one of the ways we make sure that our customer is receiving the care and attention they deserve.

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