by Mike Rowley

Customer-Centric Project Management

Book Review

Customer-centric project management
Customer-centric project management

Customer-Centric Project Management by Elizabeth Harrin and Phil Peplow

This book is a short, straightforward guide to what customer-centricity means in terms of the way one works. It helps the reader to understand why collaborative project management and post-implementations are not enough, why customers matter – not just the end user but also internal colleagues and suppliers – and introduces a step-by-step process to move an organisation to a customer-centric project management way of working, using a model called Exceed (a simple spreadsheet questionnaire) and a phased implementation process.

Customer-Centric Project Management is organised into nine concise chapters, with the first three introducing the customer-centric process, exploring why customers count, considering why collaborative project management is not enough and detailing the next steps toward customer-centric project management – fully involving the customer in the process, with the aim of achieving project success, continuously eliciting customer feedback and taking action on them so you get high levels of service and customer satisfaction.

Chapter four discusses how to measure success beyond the traditional triple constraint and the limits of post-implementation reviews.

Chapters five and six illustrate the Exceed process in practice through a case study, and the next two chapters look at how to refine the process for a project environment. The final chapter of the book gives guidance on how to make the process sustainable and maintain stakeholder support.

I liked the simplicity of the idea and that it has been made into a practical and flexible solution.

Each chapter is concisely written, well-structured, populated with informative facts key to the customer-centric ‘state of mind’, ensuring the key points are clear by ending each chapter with a summary list.

Based on the authors’ background and the empirical study roots thereof, it is no surprise the book is primarily based on experience of the setup and implementation of the Exceed model in an information technology (IT) project. I feel the book would have benefited from the experience of different types of projects by including empirical case studies of implementing Exceed on both a non-IT project and a service-delivery project.

The authors suggest the book is relevant to project, programme and portfolio managers, which may be the case for those in an IT project management environment. I feel, however, that the more seasoned service delivery project and programme managers will be familiar with its content.

The Exceed model facilitates the opportunity to work with customers to encompass their success criteria and track them in a meaningful way throughout the full project life cycle.

I found the book full of informative ideas and, despite its strong IT bias, I still consider it a useful source to understand the transformation to customer-centric project management for all practitioners with schemes at any stages of the project cycle.

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