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Where does sales fit in project management?

Trudy Robinson - Tuesday, March 01, 2011
I was asked today how I sway someone's opinion, what it is that I 'do' to get people to agree to a common goal within a project.  It is often really difficult, project management is significantly about political management and/or communication.

So... where does sales fit.

Well, if you were going in to purchase a TV, the sales person would ask all the questions at the beginning... how much you wanted to spend, what you expected for that $$, what your priorities were etc etc.   Then, after providing you with a fantastic deal where you feel really special because the sales person has provided a deal better than what anyone else would get, you spend your total buget but get what, or more than what, you expected - you have no obstacles.  You have no reason to say no.  This person has provided you everything you asked for and you feel heard and understood... that is the art of a good sales person.

So it is in project management.  The scope, project planning, documentation, governance, project initiation documents etc etc - it is all setting the right expectation.  It involves asking alot of questions, understanding what someone wants.  Then, once they're heard and documented and planned down to the 'nth degree - the project delivers, the stakeholders are happy and you get the tick of approval from meeting stakeholder expectations.

So alot of project management is about sales... setting the expectation and meeting the expectation.

.... even though I don't believe that the customer is always right.

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