Ask the Board – November 21, 2016 | MARK ZWICKER


What questions do you wish you had asked before you started your first big project?

There are two questions that I wished I’d asked before the first big project that I ALWAYS ask now.

There are a myriad of questions you probably have for your client before taking on any major assignment. No doubt there is a fair amount of time spent understanding their objectives and, of course, covering off budget requirements. I have learned that there are two areas that are sometimes overlooked, but are essential:

1) Who are all the stakeholders, and do they all buy in to the decisions being made?

This might seem obvious, but I have learned that the person who owns the budget and ultimately signs the purchase order is not the only one who has approval as a project moves forward. I have seen well-intentioned projects get delayed or derailed because not all opinions were heard during the discovery and planning stage. As with most initiatives, it’s better to spend a little more time up front, meeting all stakeholders and learning their particular needs before proceeding. It can also be very helpful to obtain an org chart to better understand reporting lines.

2) Has the client allocated the required internal resources to manage the project from their end?

Clients have to fight hard to ensure they have adequate funds allocated in their budget to pay for a project. More often than not, this involves several meetings and presentations to their senior management to win the dollars required to get a project off the ground.

What I find is quite often overlooked is planning how much human capital will be required. In the early phases of a digital signage deployment, a client may need to allocate one of their employees to spend the majority of their time working with the various vendors, often for months. If the right human resources have not been considered, it can wreak havoc on a project.

As part of our process, we specifically discuss this aspect with our clients to ensure there are no surprises once a project gets going.



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Senior Vice President, Enterprise Business Development
St. Joseph Communications

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