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CHAPTER 3: PLANNING A PROFITABLE PROJECT > Gathering the Project Requirements - Pg. 67

+ PLANNING A PROFITABLE PROJECT 67 product. The wasted materials and time spent redoing work in- furiated the shop owner, and he wanted the machine ripped out and a newer, faster machine delivered. When I dug into the problem, I learned that the equipment hadn't been balanced in more than two years, the people using the equipment hadn't been trained properly, and, to make matters worse, the software controlling the equipment hadn't been installed properly. By understanding the problem behind a customer's perceived solu- tion, you can help the client save money and time, and get the results that he really wants. Once you understand what the customer actually wants and needs, the project team will be able to create an effective plan for achieving it. Planning ends only when the project ends. In proj- ect management for small businesses, there's rarely time for long, drawn-out planning sessions, but accurate planning sessions are mandatory. This includes gathering the requirements and then planning for successful project implementation. Gathering the Project Requirements One of the most important parts of project management is gath- ering the project requirements. When requirements are subjec- tive, sketchy, or ambiguous, the project manager can't plan for precise project execution. Accurate requirements are the foun- dation for an accurate project plan. There are many approaches to gathering project require- ments, but the most fundamental, and most successful, approach is simply talking with the customer. Interviewing the customer helps you understand what is wanted. From the customer's perspective, you're the expert who can help her draft her American Management Association · www.amanet.org