When managing a project, it’s important not to lose sight with who you’re working for. Your client is not always an actual customer. Not always the person who pays for the project, your client can also be the person who will use the product or service you are making. For example, if you’re reorganizing archives at your work, the client could be those who need to search the archives: administrative and customer service teams.

It can be quite disheartening to deliver something that disappoints the client. After all, you worked hard on that project, and you would like people to be impressed. If you want to make sure your client is happy with your work, involve them from the start, and keep them involved all the way through.

Start from a client request
A project for the sake of a project is useless. Find something that someone needs, and do it. Most organizations have wish lists where clients or other employees contribute; they are a great starting place.

Right from the start
Even before you start planning your project, contact your clients and get them involved right away. It’s better to know right away what they really want than to have to change everything at the last minute. It also helps understand why they want things a certain way, and makes it easier to plan your project to meet those requirements.

Meet often
As you work on your project, you should get your clients’ input regularly. This will ensure that you are still on track, and enable you to adjust as necessary.

Prove to your client that their comments are useful
If your clients are involved at every step of the project, they must have a sense that their time is not wasted. That doesn’t mean you have to implement every change they request. It means that you should give them feedback on whether or not the request will be implemented, and if it won’t, why you took that decision.

Make client signoff mandatory
It’s easy for a client to say that they are happy with the project’s result, and then turn around and deny that they accepted it. Getting clients to sign-off on the project delivery makes them accountable. Before they sign, they will make sure that the project is really done to their satisfaction.