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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

Managing Projects

Sales professionals will be called on to manage or participate in projects. They often win large sales that require support from multiple departments and extensive coordination with the customer's organization in order to implement. I won't try to re-create a project management course here, but I would like to share some of the best practices I've learned from managing many large projects and from my research.

Although projects involve a set of schedules, costs, and requirements, when it comes down to it they are primarily about people—getting them to commit to the goals of the project and to work together to bring it to a successful conclusion. Most of the problems that people run into on projects revolve around issues of communication (clear goals, for example) and commitment (having allegiance to their department or their own projects). Granted, there are excellent project management techniques that can be used to expedite the project and keep it on course. But the best project management tools will not compensate for poor support, misalignment, or resistance. On the other hand, with the right people and the right commitment, they will find ways to get around any obstacle. You have probably seen instances of that level of commitment in your own work experience.

One of the most common reasons that projects fail is that they have unclear goals. People think they know what they are supposed to be doing and what they are trying to accomplish, but it often isn't the case. The goal needs to be specific and measurable, quantitatively and qualitatively. Projects also languish when they don't have the high level of support they need. In some cases, projects never come to fruition because of multiple problems.


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