Managing customer satisfaction is a very difficult-to-measure component of the triple constraint. Cost, Time, Scope, Quality & Risk are more quantifiable constraints. They can be reported and, most of the time, how they will be managed is contained in the project management plan documents. Since customer satisfaction cannot be measured or quantified, how is it possible to control it & manage it?
The Goals of the Project
The goals of the project are contained in the Project Charter & the Contract and they are further refined in the scope statement and WBS. These are goals that should never be abandoned at any stage of the project. After all, these goals are the reasons for existence of the project. Running after customer satisfaction can sometimes derail the project, so the Project Manager should never lose sight of the project goals in favor of customer satisfaction.
Quality equals customer satisfaction
All the requirements of the customer for the project (whether the end result of the Poject is a product or a service) should be documented in the Quality Management Plan and should be confirmed to comply with the contract and scope statement (no Gold-Plating). Using this process, customer satisfaction becomes a quantifiable constraint that can be managed through the quality management plan, measured using quality assurance processes & improved through processes of quality control.
In conclusion, it is the responsibility of the project manager to translate customer requirements into quantifiable & attainable goals and the quality management plan can be used to help quantify & manage customer satisfaction.
© 2009 Saad Farooqi