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Judge and Jury

BY: Collin Quiring

I see life through the prism of Project Management.  And, depending on the situation, how Project Management affects or is affected by customer service.  I am in the middle of having a very bad experience with the TSA – the Transportation Security Administration.  On a trip some six months ago now, they broke some of the items in my luggage.  I know it was them, and not the airline, for a number of reasons – the most obvious being that my contents were not in the same places in the suitcase that they were in when I turned the suitcase over to their care. 

Here is the part about customer service and Project Management that bothers me.  First, the TSA sets the rules under which I file a claim.  Then, they determine if the claim is valid or not, AND, they do it in their own time frame.  They decide if they did the damage or not.  They decide if they will pay or not.  They also make up the rules for you to follow if you want to appeal their other rulings.

While the overall situation is frustrating, it does make me think about how the Project Managers, or Project Management Office, is judged.  When a project is completed, who decides if it was successful or not?  And, from what criteria?  During a project, who decides if it is going well or not?  And, again, using what criteria?  I know that there are some quick and easy answers – time, budget, and quality – but are those the only criteria for if a project is going well or completed well?  And, how do the stakeholders view it? 

I have worked with some stakeholders that don’t care at all about Project Management or the “normal” criteria that Project Managers like to use for measurements.  To them, all the Project Management did was get in the way.

Which leads me back to the TSA – they use their own criteria to decide if something went well or not, and from their perspective.  As a Project Manager, on your projects, are you being your own judge and jury?  If so, perhaps it would be good to see how the stakeholders are viewing your processes, rules and measurements.






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