Monday, December 7, 2015

You Already Have ‘NO', Go For ‘YES'

#SridharPeddisetty #PreSales #Negotiation #Project #BestPractices #Agile #ProjectManagement 
"You already have NO, go for YES!" is possibly the best advise shared by my colleague to sum up a hectic 10 days PreSales trip. In the last ten days, we travelled extensively across North America meeting with various clients, which worked out to be an enriching experience for both of us. Coming from a delivery background, this PreSales trip was a learning experience in many ways for me. More often than not, when you are selling your services, its the preconceived perception that is normally challenging to change. By definition, perception is the way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted. So when my wise colleague shared with me the wisdom he got from his mother, it truly reflected the challenge we mostly overcome during our PreSales meetings. The challenge of going for ‘Yes’ when we already have a ‘No’. 

In my earlier blog posts, 5 Tips Delivering Quality Services To Your Client and 7 Tips Having Good Times In A Client Relationship, I had shared tips on maintaining robust client relationships and how to ensure providing quality services to your client. This post is more applicable for PreSales phase, which precedes before starting work with a new client or on a new project. In the book "Getting to Yes, Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In", based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, authors Roger Fisher and William Ury outline four parameters for principled negotiation:
  1. Separate the people from the problem
  2. Focus on interests, not positions
  3. Generate a variety of possibilities before making a decision and 
  4. Define objective standards as the criteria for making the decision

All of above four parameters are applicable when transforming the perception of people into a positive outlook. Below I am sharing five tips on how you can go for ‘Yes’ when you have already have a ‘No’.

Tip#1: Identify the people for whom you would want to change perception - Its an important first step to identify the people and their positioning of strength. Have a clear understanding on who are the influencers whose change of opinion would matter the most. Its more on focusing on their respective needs rather than their positions. 

Tip#2: Identify the reasoning of perception - Understand the background to get some context behind the perception. Its important to understand whether the perception is a direct result of personal experience or its an opinion formed by hearing other’s experience. This would help while devising the plan on transforming.  

Tip#3: Plan to transform the perception - Identify and establish some common grounds while planning the transformation. There is a reason why a perception is formed so plan to be assertive without being argumentative. Prepare yourself with ideas, logics and rational reasoning to counter the perception.  

Tip#4: Execute on the plan - Its important to keep emotions under check while executing the transformation. Keep in mind to respond and not to react. Always keep me in mind that you build relationships and connect with others by listening to understand and not listening to respond. 

Tip#5: Have Follow Ups - Its important to have regular follow ups with the individuals you are trying to change the perception. Closing the loop is very critical in ensuring a trustworthy relationship. 


To summarize, going after ‘Yes’ is more about knowing what you want, going after it and in the process respecting the person on other end of the deal. Go after ‘Yes’ to build long lasting relationships rather than burning bridges on your way out of the meeting room.

“Place a higher priority on discovering what a win looks like for the other person.” – Harvey Robbins

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Every (Failed) Project Has ‘Success' Story To Tell

#SridharPeddisetty #LessonsLearned #Management #Project #BestPractices #Agile #ProjectManagement 

A 24 year old boy seeing out from the train’s window shouted…
“Dad, look the trees are going behind!”
Dad smiled and a young couple sitting nearby, looked at the 24 year old’s childish behavior with pity,
suddenly he again exclaimed…
“Dad, look the clouds are running with us!”
The couple couldn’t resist and said to the old man…
“Why don’t you take your son to a good doctor?”
The old man smiled and said…
“I did and we are just coming from the hospital, my son was blind from birth, he just got his eyes today.
We should not judge too soon before knowing all facts as at times the truth might surprise you. Every single person on the planet is unique and has a story to share. Similarly, every project is unique and has a ‘success’ story to tell even if it failed to meet its objectives in the eyes of stakeholders. By definition, project is a temporary unique endeavor having start-end timelines with a defined scope & resources with planned set of interrelated tasks executed to accomplish goal(s). 
There are many means to measure the success and failure of a project but there is no strict line dividing between the two. For instance, a ‘successful' project could have exceeded the planned budget or went over scheduled delivery date or could even not have provided all the planned functionalities upon completion. Whereas a ‘failed’ project could have a release with all planned features but missed the critical market launch or could not align with the direction of new leadership team. Brian K Willard in his Project Success and Failures article has shared examples, which strengthens the point that success or failure of a project are subjective. 
In my earlier post, Why Sharing Lessons Learned Is Key For Matured PMO, I discussed why sharing 'lessons learned' across teams is one of the key aspects of a matured PMO in an Organization. A well organized exercise to document 'Lessons learned’ would include identifying the ‘success’ factors of a project and understand how to repurpose it for future or existing projects. Success factors that could be salvaged from a ‘failed’ project could be
  • An improvement to internal process(s) 
  • An improvement in technical skill(s) of the resource(s) 
  • An improvement to service(s) for the end customer 
  • An improvement to save cost in utilizing key resource(s)
The exploitation of knowledge and experience gained from completed projects is very critical for a matured organization and application of the same for continuous improvements.  


To summarize, do not judge a ‘failed' project too soon without getting specific facts for learning lessons. It's important to identify and share the ‘success’ value of a project even if it failed to meet its main strategic goals.
Remember not to throw the baby out with the bathwater!
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