Selina (Customer Project Manager) requested to have the Implementation project schedule to move back from February to June, so as to make way for another higher prioritized project “V”.
I (Service Provider Project Manager) raised a Project Change Request (PCR) to document the project is now put on hold.
Project scope remains the same, is to implement the project, no change when project resume.
Project schedule is moved from Feb to June.
The project team will resume the implementation in June with no cost.
However, if the implementation schedule is to move forward; customer will have to pay project to activate the relevant resources. PCR was agreed and endorsed.
Along the way, there is a change of project manager at customer’s end. Selina had moved on to manage another internal project and had transited the project to another member that comes from the sourcing team. Senior management was also eager to expedite all outstanding projects to be completed.
Vick, Sourcing Manager, activated the project team to quickly implement the outstanding items and complete the project as soon as possible.
I told Vick that, based on the agreement that signed previously, there will be a cost if the project team is to implement the project early.
As a project manager, I understand that the early a project completes, the better it is. However, as a supplier, the interest is to earn as much from the customer.
Vick did not honor the PCR that Selina endorsed previously. He only honored the master contract that both parties signed. He insisted not to pay a singe cent for the project change.
Vick claimed that his working culture is through relationships. Claiming if I am willing to cooperate with him by offset the project charges, Vick will promise to have an unconditional support and more business in future.
However, I told Vick firmly that, the project couldn’t be done this way. If all projects can bypass the process and cost, then there is no need a project manager.
I insisted Vick to agree on the payment before my project team can start work. Vick refused. Not forgetting that Vick’s management is chasing him to complete all the outstanding projects. Vick is anxious to kick start the project.
Knowing the situation is favorable on my end, I insisted Vick to agree on the payment. If he agrees to make the payment, my project team could start and be able to meet the revised timeline. After few rounds of aggressive exchange of conversations, Vick gave in. He finally agreed to make the payment and let the project team to kick start the implementation.
From this episode, I realized a few things.
- Project Manager needs to be firm with the decision made
- Knowing your rights and internal change management process is vital
- Document the necessary and not the nitty gritty in the change request
- Make the right decision for your organization that you belong to, don’t weaver when customer threatens to move to other provider
- As a global company, individual country has to follow whatever global HQ decisions or instructions made. Country entity will contributes feedback but not makes any decision.
Of course, to go through the entire process is not easy. The feeling of swearing, cursing is present. However, as a professional in a corporate world, one should not raise his voice to suppliers even if you are the customer. Not all times, customer is right.