While we live in a world of acronyms, I’d like to focus on one, in particular, this week: “PM”. Typically, this stands for “Project Manager”; and a quick review of your own collection of business cards will show you that it is an incredibly common title. However, I would argue that the actual job of a PM is divided into two subsets: Personnel Management and Product Management.
In larger corporations, these jobs are often assigned separately. But most of us are at smaller firms, which usually bundle such responsibilities into a single job description, if they are addressed at all.
Personnel management definitely gets the highest priority. Maybe it’s a simple matter of necessity, or perhaps it’s more of a “squeaky wheel gets the grease” situation. Either way, I think most project managers spend the largest percentage of their time managing people. As necessary as this may be, I think it is short sighted.
We may market our personnel to win projects, but the fact is that we actually sell our products (even if they are services). So, if our product is what we sell, why don’t we spend more time on Product Management? I think it is because most of us approach products as being specific to each client. This puts us in a position of executing ad hoc solutions as opposed to any sort of grand vision of what we provide to our clients, and in essence, how our clients experience us.
This brings us to that grand vision. Do you have one for your company? Do your customers know that a product came from you as soon as they see it or does it look the same as any other competitor’s product; a commodity in a sea of commodities?
Ideally, you want a client to receive your product(s) and instantly know that they came from you. Think of computer tech. The clear winner in the grand vision game there is Apple. You immediately know one of their products when you see it – even without seeing the logo. It is not so easy for most of us service providers, as we rarely deliver physical products.
However, that does not excuse us from considering the customer experience. In fact, it should cause us to focus more on our customer’s experience. Often, that experience is the sum total of what we are providing to the decision makers in our clients’ firms. I think this will only increase as 3D imaging moves into new, cost-conscious sectors that are more interested in low-cost visualization than sub-millimeter accuracy, or other previous differentiators such as speed and experience.
So, how do you want to be perceived? The options are vast. You can be known for everything from concierge, like personal service, to service dependability so ubiquitous as to go almost unnoticed, such as electricity or other utilities. But, if you are to be known at all, it will be for something. So, take the time to decide what you want that something to be.