Managing a project is not about the developers, it's about the success of a customer.
Natalie Deynega, Salesforce project manager at Twistellar, uncovers the secrets of customer satisfaction through established processes on the contractor's side.
🎁 Read the full article to take note of the tools she uses daily and personal recommendations to every project manager!
1. Who is a Salesforce Project Manager? What are the Main Responsibilities?
To describe the PM’s role I have to refer to a classic project triangle with Scope, Time and Cost in angles, composing Quality – the centre of this scheme and the goal of every collaboration between a customer and a contractor.
At the same time, we should keep in mind 5 typical project life cycle phases: Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring, and Closing.
So, obviously, there should be a member of the contractor’s team who will manage three of these resources from that triangle in every project’s stages according to the chosen methodology to build a Qualitative Project. And this is a Project Manager.
All PMs know and like an old joke: Project Management is as easy as riding a bike. The bike is on fire. You are on fire. Everything around you is on fire. You are in hell 🙂
Don't forget to check out: Problem Solving | Salesforce Project Implementation
The PM’s responsibilities lie in the area of the named project’s stages. According to the latest statistics, an average project manager works on 2-5 projects at the same time. That’s why sometimes they want to have 10+ hours in a day because PMs provide tech and customer teams with:
- Process Management and Optimization - Here goes planning, scheduling, and communication. The Project Manager’s goal is to analyze briefs and requests from clients, to highlight the objectives & needs of the project. He or she sets measurable metrics to determine a path to success and top quality. This person provides updates on every step and organizes effective interactions with stakeholders.
- Task Management - A PM should set clear and structured tasks, and coordinate their execution in definite timelines on the agreed costs.
- Resource Management - This part includes setting time estimates, calculating team members’ workloads, and budgeting.
- Risk Management - A PM not only has to forecast and eliminate blockers to the project’s realization, but to note possible opportunities.
- Documenting & Reporting - Clients should be notified about each step in the process with available project management tools. Documentation and reports serve as insurance for both sides.
And, of course, an SF Project Manager is expected to have general knowledge about the ecosystem products for understanding the implementation & delivery processes. It adds confidence in negotiations with customers and allows for providing actual estimation. Some simple tasks may also be implemented by a PM as a Salesforce Administrator without Devs or a TechLead.
2. Why is project management important? What do clients get from it?
Just imagine a big truck with freight which is running somewhere without a driver. Where is it running? Why is it running? When will it stop?
With no communication, no planning, and no strategy, this truck will never drive to success. So, there are 3 main benefits of established project management for the customer:
- Project management helps to save customers' time and money - Once a PM creates processes, procedures and rules, they can be used on the next sprints. The PM delegates tasks according to the skills and roles of team members. No time-wasting on education, questions, and reviews. Everyone is “on the same page” doing the definite job, so we achieve the goal without delays or time consumption. That saves money, you know 🙂
Across all organizations, 11.4% of all resources are wasted due to inferior project management processes (mondaydotcom article, 2022).
- Project management improves customers' satisfaction - Performance tracking and reporting help to be sure that your data is available for analysis. The retrospective is a great chance to get feedback from the team and stakeholders about the problematic areas a PM can work with. It is useful to create documents and fix all the lessons the PM gets from a challenging situation. It allows the team to deliver better quality with every story point!
- Project management improves flexibility - Projects must be able to adapt to changing requirements, and without the right management that’s impossible. With flexibility at the core, project managers can navigate their way around volatile market needs and define the moment when they’re going off track and correct the direction in that specific moment, instead of when it’s too late.
3. What tools do you use for keeping the customer updated?
Well, every manager has his own set. But for typical tools such as MS Office, I also use MS Project for planning, scheduling and controlling implementation, but more often I use Jira to plan, track, and manage projects and Miro board for roadmaps visualization. I also need all messengers for communication with customers. And Canva is great for customers’ presentations.
I try to follow my colleagues' advice and use different tools, if they are convenient I will add them to my set with great pleasure.
4. What can help to create trustworthy cooperation? What difficulties do you meet as a PM on projects?
Trustworthy cooperation is the main goal of each project.
Usually 77% of satisfied customers recommend your company to potential customers. It is not only about expertise, it is also about communication.
So at Twistellar, we all follow the next principles despite any difficulties we meet:
☑️ Build easy and clear communication.
Choose the style in which you communicate wisely. If customers do not understand your intentions or ideas, they will most likely refuse to take the desired actions. Misunderstanding is the biggest enemy of successful collaboration.
Sometimes we need to explain what and why we are doing so that the customer is aware of the process and project trajectory. Coordinate the theses and results to make sure that you are talking and thinking about the same thing.
☑️ Answer the clients in less than 24 hours.
This is an approach we use at all our projects. In case of emergencies, it should be even faster. Consistent and fast replies to clients build a bond of trust.
It is meaningful in terms of excellent communication to set milestones and to keep customers informed about all deadlines and timelines. And it shouldn’t take more than one day. Thanks to this, a PM will know how to plan his work and to who to assign tasks. It will also help customers to know the current status, making the project path more transparent.
Check out another amazing blog by Twistellar here: Pardot VS. Marketing Cloud: Differences and FAQs [INFOGRAPHICS]
☑️ Always remember you are in the same team as the customer.
Being on the same page is the key to making any project a success, so we should be very attentive to the client’s ideas. All communications should be honest and open, we mustn’t hide difficulties if we have any. The client must be aware of both successes and failures. The main thing is that he knows that everything can be fixed, how it will happen and that the decisions will be made jointly.
Our customers appreciate our honesty and transparency.
☑️ Do not trust important information to your memory.
This advice seems to be so basic by default. But I never stop repeating that memory can fail! We are all human beings, so I recommend fixing important agreements, conditions, and obligations. If you want the client to trust your promises, they must be kept. So prevent your head from spinning! Fortunately, any project manager has a wide range of tools available for that. Agree with the client about the procedures, and you will get rid of discords.
So now you know what exactly smooth project management provides to customers, and what approaches we apply at Twistellar.
✅ You can learn more about our approaches to cooperation here.
We hope this article will be useful for all the Salesforce project managers and anyone who has at least once been involved in the development or implementation of Salesforce projects.