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Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme, Sixth Edition by Robert K. Wysocki

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Client Involvement vs. the Complexity/Uncertainty Domain

Consider for a moment a project where you were most certain of the goal and the solution. You would be willing to bet your first-born that you had nailed requirements and that they would not change. (Yes, that type of project may just be a pipe dream, but give me the benefit of the doubt for just a moment.) For such a project, you might ask: “Why do I need to have my client involved except for the ceremonial sign-offs at milestone events?” This is a fair question, and ideally you wouldn't need the client's involvement. How about a project at the other extreme, where the goal is very elusive and no solution would seem to be in sight? In such cases, the complete involvement of the client, as a team member perhaps, but at least as a subject matter expert (SME) would be indispensable. What I have been describing here are the extreme cases in the project landscape.

TPM projects are plan-driven and team-driven projects. Client involvement is usually limited to answering clarification questions as they arise and giving sign-offs and approvals at the appropriate stages of the project life cycle. It would be accurate to say that client involvement in TPM projects is reactive and passive. But all that changes as you move into APM projects. Clients must now take a more active role in APM projects than was their role in TPM projects. For xPM projects, meaningful client involvement is essential. In fact, the client should take on a proactive ...

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