This is the first of what will become a series of Project Management tips derived from my experience building an enduring record as a Project Manager who leads business and systems projects from inception to successful completion.
PM Tip: Intervene Early
One of my current roles is Project Manager for the implementation of a new system at a client organisation which is not accustomed to projects where technology is the primary enabler.
When they were presented with a requirements document, to review for sign off, that was by nature more technical than they are used to, they initially balked and started expressing reservations about their ability to understand the document, much less sign it off.
I have worked for global consulting firms where they would wait until the client didn't sign off the document to raise a formal issue about it - with the excuse that it was clearly pre-agreed that this was the client's responsibility.
But by then it is too late - the milestone has been missed.
Instead, on this occasion, I saw that unless we guided their review of the document they would not get to a position of signing it off. Possibly never, but certainly not within the project timeline.
So we devoted extra time to helping them understand and review the document. They still had to make the judgement calls, but we guided them through the process. More so than usual.
However, by intervening early, helping them understand the document and where they needed to focus their review, the outcome was that they signed off on the document - a day early.