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Know Your Customer

Communications with your customer(s) and team(s) is key to your success.  Knowing what they want is just as important as what you plan to deliver.  I laughed out loud (uncomfortably) when I saw the graphic to the left.  Though I’m not Jewish, I’ve worked with a lot of people from around the world.  I’ve grown to appreciate the things that make us all unique.  Trying to sell some Jews a ham on Chanukah is almost as bad as offering an all-you-can-eat meat buffet to a vegetarian.  It doesn’t matter how good of a deal you can offer, the product itself must meet the needs (and wants) of the customer.  Perhaps if the vendor of the boneless smoked ham had the list below, they could have avoided this embarrassing (and potentially costly) situation.

Problem Statement

Describe the business reason(s) for initiating the project or building a product, specifically stating the business problem.  Identify the high level goal it relates to.

Description

Describe the approach the project or product will use to address the business problem.

Goals and Objectives

Describe the business goals and objectives of the project or product. (I like user stories)

Scope

Describe the project or product scope. The scope defines limits and identifies what is delivered (inclusive). The scope establishes boundaries and should describe products and/or services that are outside of the scope (exclusive).

Critical Success Factors (Acceptance Criteria)

Describe the factors or characteristics that are deemed critical to the success of a project or product, such that, in their absence the it will fail.

Assumptions

Describe any assumptions related to business, technology, resources, scope, expectations, or schedules.

Constraints

Describe any constraints being imposed in areas such as schedule, budget, resources, products to be reused, technology to be employed, products to be acquired, and interfaces to other products. List the constraints based on the current knowledge today.


I want to thank my wife for sending me the image.

About Derek Huether

I'm Vice President of Enterprise Engagements at LeadingAgile. I'm super focused on results. But I also take the hand waving out of organizational transformations. I come from a traditional PM background but I don't give points for stuff done behind the scenes. The only thing that counts is what you get done and delivered. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon)

2 Responses to “Know Your Customer”

  1. Paolo Ruffatti
    December 6, 2010 at 9:35 am

    It happened to me a similar situation when i saw in south Brazil a new Benetton Store (most famous italian woolen cloth maker) who opened a “standard store” (same goods all over the world). There was passers by laughin loudly seeing in the windows shop wanderful woolen pullovers, top quality (and awfully costing) in a place where the minimum temperature in winter was at least +15 °C, with an average of +18-20°C

    • Anonymous
      December 6, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      Good example of how global distribution isn’t so good if you don’t have good local information about your customers.

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