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JUSTIN SMITH, from page 1

good at what you do and doing it well is expected. They are the current table stakes. These are the things that get you into the room where the decisions are made, but they do not differentiate your firm. There is a missing component of this equation that is where your value is derived. Enter client experience. The key to great project management lies in reorienting the project management function from managing performance to managing experience. When we reconsider the function, the equation might look a little something like this:




about who these key accounts are and develop an understanding of the types of experiences they want to have working with you. ■ ■ Map your success blueprint. Look carefully at your expertise and your execution and map out how you can deliver your services in a way that delivers the successful client experiences, keeping in mind that “success” means the type of experience they want to have, not the experience you want to have. ■ ■ Develop your PM toolkit. Develop the project manager toolkit that allows your project managers to consistently deliver high value projects, which includes performance and experience. The key to doing this well lies in realizing that you do not need many tools, but rather a lean set of the right tools that focus on the key drivers of value. ■ ■ Create your playbook. Look at the key points along the project where you have an opportunity to drive (or diminish) value and develop a set of “plays to call” at those unique opportunities to capitalize on the opportunity. When done well, this approach allows you to create a lean, flexible process that empowers your project managers to focus on maximizing value in project delivery which, after all, is typically the goal in the first place. Justin Smith is an advisor at Zweig Group, specializing in project management and leadership development. He can be reached at

Your project results. Degree to which you achieved desired outcomes.

Your project experience. Degree to which you delivered desired experiences.

Perception of value.

When we consider value in this light, value is diminished when the experience is diminished, even when you perform well. When clients consider high performance to be table stakes, your primary opportunity to derive value lies in your ability to give them the type of experience they want to have. So how do you do that? It starts by designing your project delivery system around your unique value proposition, which is the intersection between what you do best, how you do it best, and the experience that your clients want to have working with you, as seen in the chart in the next column. What is unique about this notion is that no two firms will have the same expertise or the same process, but every firm needs a system to consistently deliver its value proposition, and your project managers are the ones on the front lines of this effort. If you want to deliver consistently high value experiences, consider the following: ■ ■ Get clarity. Chances are good that the Pareto principle applies in your firm and 20 percent of your clients contribute to 80 percent of your value. Get clear

PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR AEC PROFESSIONALS This is a modern training for project managers led by a panel of experts, backed by proven research on how to best train project managers to be more effective. This course provides people-focused, science and data driven practical skills to help project leaders harness the power of their team and to create a better client experience. This course provides practical techniques that can be immediately implemented for a positive impact on any AEC team or business. Click here to learn more!

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