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Saving Customers from Themselves

One of the principles that MIPRO lives by is, “Always tell your customer what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear.” We are passionate about providing real, honest observations and feedback. Sometimes we are tested to see just how far we will take that commitment.

We recently had a customer decide they wanted to move the go-live date for our project earlier by three months. Although we had a detailed project plan created by one of our senior resources with over 25 years of experience, the customer’s project manager decided to set aside the plan, eliminating steps and increasing project risk, in order to hit an earlier date.

We did not hesitate to share our concern and the potential risks associated with that decision. We delivered our honest feedback and the new date was not altered. We had done all we could do. We focused on doing everything we could to help our customer make the new date, keeping an eye open for the challenges that lay ahead.

We kept to our principles and did the right thing, but in this case, the candid feedback negatively impacted our relationship with the customer. In almost every other instance, the honest, candid feedback is seen as refreshing and has led to many long term, mutually beneficial relationships. In either case, we believe we should never comprise our principles.

Some things we’ve learned along the way:

  • Always be professional when providing feedback. Leave the emotion out of it. Easier said than done, but extremely important.
  • Timing is everything. As the saying goes, bad news is not like wine, it does not get better with age. Share your feedback sooner rather than later.
  • Keep the long-term end goal in mind. Minor diversions from the plan don’t always need the cavalry. Don’t become the “boy who cried wolf.”
  • Respect your customer’s wishes. Provide your feedback, but unless you are 100% responsible for delivering or you’re on a fix fee engagement, if it is the customer’s project, point out the path to success as well as the risks, then march with them.
  • Never compromise your principles.

If you ever need honest observations or feedback don’t hesitate to contact us.

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