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How to deal with unwanted projects?

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  • How to deal with unwanted projects?

    I'm in sales. Each project is actually a potential sale. I can't do many at one time because that requires too much analisys and meetings. So I take a few (2 or 3) and move them. They are on my active projects list. All the rest is in Someday/Maybe list.

    But I can't control the customer and he rings me re: project that's on my SM. I don't want to move it to active projects list anyway but sometimes have to do something (some investigation, thinking, proposal whatever) after such a call or an accidental meeting with the customer. So I actually have to do it anyway.

    What do you think: should I move such projects to active projects list again or do what they ask me to do but leave it in someday-maybe?

    Eugene.

  • #2
    I think any project that you are actively working on should be on your active list. Otherwise you have to look in too many places to keep track of everything.

    You can always move it back to Someday/Maybe when you have answered the customer's request.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Can you put in place a screening process that slows down these unwanted projects?

      One I've used in a previous job, was to set hurdle points. Basically we had a predefined checklist that we ran through (i.e. 1 written proposal from client; 2 survey (at their cost) to demonstrate that there was a market for our product 3 analysis; 4 go/no go to talks; 5 if go talks etc).

      It had the effect of slowing down the process and weeding out those that did not meet our criteria or where unwilling to follow the process.

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      • #4
        How about a "Manage non-priority customers" project (just don't let the customers know you call it that) or "Maintain Customer Relations".

        Because the reason you're taking the action isn't because you want to move the someday-maybe task forward, it's because you want to maintain a positive relationship with that customer, even if they're not a priority right now. Different goal than the project that's someday-maybe-ed, so it gets a different project.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Borisoff
          I don't want to move it to active projects list anyway but sometimes have to do something (some investigation, thinking, proposal whatever) after such a call or an accidental meeting with the customer. So I actually have to do it anyway.
          It seems to me the tail is wagging the dog here. The system keeps track of what you have to do. So if you have to do it, track it. If moving projects between different lists is too much trouble, perhaps find an easier way to prioritize them.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by LJM
            How about a "Manage non-priority customers" project (just don't let the customers know you call it that) or "Maintain Customer Relations".

            Because the reason you're taking the action isn't because you want to move the someday-maybe task forward, it's because you want to maintain a positive relationship with that customer, even if they're not a priority right now. Different goal than the project that's someday-maybe-ed, so it gets a different project.
            LJM, how do you think "Maintain Customer Relations" project could help me dealing with Someday projects activated not in the right time by a customer?

            E

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Borisoff
              LJM, how do you think "Maintain Customer Relations" project could help me dealing with Someday projects activated not in the right time by a customer?

              E
              I think the object would be that the Maintain Customer Relations project would be the catchall project for those tasks that aren't urgent for current sales, so you wouldn't move the Someday projects, they would stay on the S/M list for the future when you do activate them, but you would have a project placeholder to tie those NAs to that you need to do now.

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              • #8
                I tend to agree with Katherine's advice - if it's something you're working on right now, it belongs on your projects list. If the project will go back to "Someday/Maybe" as soon as you're done with the current action, then do the current action and put the project back on the S/M list.

                If you're thinking about ways to work around a friction point in your system, that to me is a clear sign that it's time to rework or re-examine that part of the system to avoid the friction point. Why is moving projects between your project list and your S/M list so burdensome that you're looking for ways to avoid doing it? What can you change to make it smoother and more frictionless?

                -- Tammy

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