Six ways to avoid an IT project failure, part 2: Genuine desire to help the customer

I wrote in my previous article about the importance of transparency within the team and towards the customer in order to ensure a successful IT project. However, the genuine desire to help the customer is equally important. It sounds obvious, but according to our experience, self-interest often seems to take precedence over the customer’s needs.

Let me give you a personal example of this.

In my previous job (where I worked as a client in a project), we had an extensive two-year development project that cost EUR 1 million. In the end, the project succeeded brilliantly but, along the way, the supplier responsible for one of the sections caused problems for the cooperation through their own practices that only drove the interests of the company in question. In other words, the supplier had a policy whereby the project should always include at least two of their employees. As the project progressed, the requirements and budget changed, so that there was work for only one developer. The supplier refused to be flexible and pull the other developer out of the project. In practice, we had to continue paying for two developers, even though there was only enough work for one of them.

The cooperation fails terribly in terms of customer satisfaction and sustainability if we are not prepared to be flexible about our own practices. Wasting resources in such a way is simply absurd. Practices such as the one described above can be useful in terms of employees and the corporate culture, but the system must work for both the supplier and the customer, otherwise the operations will not be sustainable.

Another problematic practice we have come across is the refusal to share the project with other suppliers. Not all customers want to buy every part of a project from the same supplier, and there may not be sufficient resources either to make it possible. The so-called vendor lock-in becomes a problem if the customer wants to bring other suppliers into the project, but the supplier in charge of the project does not agree to it. If sharing a project with more than one supplier is in the customer’s best interest, cooperation should not be a problem. In order to avoid risks of a vendor lock-in, certain key roles should be managed from within the company and not even handed over to consultants.

In order to ensure the success of the project, customer satisfaction and the sustainability of software development, suppliers must have a genuine desire to put the customer’s needs and wishes first and to be prepared to be flexible to accommodate what is best for the project. Even if some decisions were not the most profitable for us as a supplier, making sure that the customer comes first has, in our experience, been rewarding in the long run and has helped Compile to grow.

In the next blog, you will learn more about the prerequisites to success, from the perspective of skilled team members.

the eNPS calculation is based on the Employee Net Promoter Score formula developed by Fred Reichheld, which was originally used to study the customer experience and customer satisfaction of companies. Lately, it has also been used to research employee satisfaction (e as in employee + NPS).

This is how the calculation is performed.

We ask our employees once a year, “How likely are you to recommend your workplace to friends or acquaintances on a scale of 0 to 10?” Then we ask for clarification with an open question: “Why did you submit this score?”.

Those who submit a score of 9 or 10 are called promoters. Those who submit a score from 0 to 6 are called detractors.

The eNPS result is calculated by subtracting the relative percentage of detractors from the relative percentage of promoters. Other answers are allocated a score of 0.

The calculation results can be anything from -100 to +100. Results between +10 and +30 are considered to be good, and results above +50 are considered to be excellent.