Friday, 11 February 2011

Hey Project Manager, How Does Your Garden Grow?

About five years ago we had our garden landscaped. I know that sounds poncy, especially as we've only got a small garden, but we had some 'high-level business requirements': clearly defined areas, colour throughout the year, nice fragrances, low-maintenance, etc.

We gave these requirements to a designer who drew up a plan for us to review and approve. We then passed the work to a landscaping firm who, working to the plan, sourced the plants and project-managed the levelling, turfing, planting etc. Great. We've been very pleased.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, the project manager from the landscaping firm called me up out of the blue. He wanted to call around to see how the plants were maturing and have a look how the garden was developing as a whole.

Don't forget, this project ended five years ago!

Now, there was certainly a commercial angle to his visit... there may have been some rework to do, restocking of certain plants, rethinking of certain schemes, but in this case, other than one or two early plant deaths and the odd leggy herb, the garden has matured as originally envisaged.

But here was a project manager interested in learning more about his craft, both from his successes and his mistakes. He wanted to learn what happens to plants in our climate, at our altitude, in our location.

Now a post-implementation review is best practice for project managers in all walks of life. However, such is the pace of change, that even the best of us forget to go back and do this even when we are working to timescales of five weeks, never mind five years!

So, this attention to detail impressed me, especially as there was no immediate commercial benefit to the landscaper straight after his visit. But guess who I'm going to recommend to friends? Guess who will be the first person I call when I do need some more work doing in my garden?

Just a thought, but maybe we should all make sure that we carve out enough time to go back and ask our customers how things are growing?

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