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Listen to your Customer on her Birthday

In celebration of my wife’s birthday, I figured I would make her a homemade birthday cake.  I haven’t done that since before we got married 5+ years ago.  This time, however, I actually asked her what she wanted.  That’s right.  The first birthday cake that I made for her, I didn’t even ask what she would like.  If you were the customer, wouldn’t that kind of tick you off?  Thanks for the cake but… I don’t like that kind.

Getting input (and listening) to your customer goes a long way.

Sure, I could have ordered a cake from the local (and now famous) Charm City Cakes but she didn’t ask for that.  She wanted a chocolate cake with butter cream frosting.  So, last night, our 4-year-old son and I made her a chocolate cake with butter cream frosting.  We even cleaned up the mess after!  But, it wasn’t completely uneventful.  All I can say is I’m glad there were well documented instructions.

Me: Are we a pair of knuckleheads or what?
My son:  I think we’re a pair of clowns, Daddy.

Here is my Project Management Spin

  1. Find out what your customer wants.
  2. Deliver what your customer wants, not what you want.
  3. You’ll spend more money if you want a chef to bake and decorate your cake.
  4. You’ll save more time if you want a chef to bake and decorate your cake.
  5. Even a pair of clowns can bake and decorate a cake (if instructions are good).
  6. You should expect lower quality from a pair of clowns.

Product Delivery

  • Both cake and frosting passed unit testing. (Mmmmmm)
  • We did a little beta testing last night before the final build.
  • The final build was successful.
  • We delivered on time.
  • We delivered below budget.
  • The good news is, I’m pretty sure we’ll pass user acceptance testing.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful and wonderful wife!

About Derek Huether

I'm Vice President of ALM Platforms at LeadingAgile. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon). Novice angel investor.

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