Saturday, 28 May 2011

Working together – the client/developer relationship

The key word here is relationship. We know that interactive project management is a collaboration between client and developer. Each needs to know their specific role and responsibilities within the project for the project process to flow. The 'relationship' element in the partnership has to be managed sensitively especially in interactive projects because the risks of misunderstanding between client and developer increase over and above other types of project. It's that cross-functional communication again - potentially causing gaps - let alone the changes/slippage syndrome.

The people that have bridged the relationship gap in iMedia projects have had various job titles depending on the background culture of the company. So we can have Account Managers, Project Managers/Team Leaders, and Client or Customer Relationship Managers. The Account Managers come from the Agency type of culture and has been deemed more on the creative side; the Project Manager/Team Leader is from a newer breed of iMedia companies and emerges from the software side; the Client/Customer Relationship Managers hail from the business and management side.

The Account Managers have traditionally had a more hands-on and personal relationship with the clients whereas the client/customer relationship managers are linked with the use of software packages that track and flag information about the clients that action responses from the managers. The Project Managers are in the middle of this. Whatever the role is called, it is a difficult one. A successful relationship manager has great people skills, keen business skills and a strong sense of commitment to finish a project that is successfully perceived from all sides. Hard, yes.

It was difficult to try to define this relationship role. There are some definitions of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and so by inference what a CRM role is: see Verbatims - and is there parity across all the definitions?

Then there is an Account Relationship Manager's job description sample at Great Sample Resume

Andrew Sobel has defined 15 common pitfalls to Client Management in his Client Loyalty newsletter (PDF). Take a look and assess if you fall into any.

Finally - just because I'm a stirrer - have a look at the salary scale for Client Relationship Managers at, SalesTarget.

These don't answer all the questions raised by the various people in iMedia projects who fulfil the 'relationship management' role, but it starts the conversation!