When The Rubber Hits The Road
A quick one-on-one with Director of Professional Services, Paul McNally.
Paul is a busy man. When not at the office, you’ll find him at volleyball, basketball, or the soccer pitch rooting for his 13-year old daughter, or 11-year old son whom – he mentions in passing – plays on the travel team and has his own YouTube channel. We cornered Paul on his way to the conference room for a quick one-on-one interview.
Craig Strydom: Do you have a minute?
Paul McNally: Okay, but it will have to be quick.
CS: The Blue Water website – and I quote – talks about “clients as partners.” It’s been the industry phrase de jour for some time. But what does it mean in practical terms?
PM: Customers as Partners? Well, it’s one of our basic tenets.
PM: In fact, establishing a successful working relationship in the beginning of any project is key to the overall success. It is important to set the stage for good communication early, where we engage our customer (or now partner) as part of the team.
CS: Sounds ‘easier said than done.’
PM: Not really. There are many ways to accomplish this. I’ll list the process. One, establish and formalize status reports on a weekly basis. Two, meet at least once a week with a formal call. Three, make sure your project team is in attendance. Four, create a ‘risk’ log where you capture and track each issue. Oh, and revisit weekly! And last but not least, if the partner has a technical resource, invite them to participate in daily scrums.
CS: You say: ‘revisit weekly.’ What do you mean?
PM: Well, frequent check-ins are paramount. These are check-ins with both your internal team and your partner—
CS: —the client?
PM: —right, the client. Meeting with your team prior to meeting with the client ensures the team is on the same page. It's also key to check-in frequently with the client. Pick up the phone and call, don't always type. Typing is too easy—
CS: What do you mean, too easy?
PM: We’re inundated with messages. And ways to message. I know it’s old school, but sometimes a call just adds that personal touch.
CS: Got it.
PM: The major benefit of checking-in is to receive constructive feedback which in turn will make the end deliverables stronger.
CS: Three minutes is nearly over, anything to add?
PM: As a PM, you are probably managing – or should I say juggling – several projects at the same time. Making sure you set and establish a schedule of project deliverables as well as communication points, will give your projects a greater chance of success.
CS: Sounds like you’ve got it all worked out.
PM: Ready to work as a PM?
CS: Nope, I’ll stick to writing.
Paul McNally is a seasoned technical project manager with more than 18 years’ experience in ecommerce and mobile apps. As an accomplished software professional with experience in agile project management, Paul has been instrumental in the successful launch of global websites in North America, Europe and Asia.