Anatomy of a Kickoff: Part 5: Project Manager Introduction

Arun Nithyanandam

This is a series of posts, if you haven’t read the earlier ones, please read it here.
Part 1: Overview
Part 2: Client and Primary Sponsor Introduction
Part 3: Supporting Structure Introduction
Part 4: Vendor Introduction

At this point, it’s time to introduce the vendor’s project manager. The client expects to meet someone who they can trust. They want to build a relationship with this person. Therefore, this introduction is too important to be left to chance.

Introductions are power plays

We’ve seen many half-hearted introductions that fail to instill trust or start a relationship. Here’s a classic example of an unsuccessful introduction.

“John Smith is one of our project managers in the company, and he will be managing your project.”

This formal introduction really says nothing about the person’s experience, capabilities or personality. The client learns nothing other than John’s role. Why should anyone trust John to manage this massive project—one that could make or break careers within the client’s company? Here’s an alternate introduction:

“John Smith will be the manager for your project. He has been with us for the last six years and has been involved in many critical projects similar to yours. Last year, John successfully completed a project where [tell a short story].

John is one of our best, and he has a reputation for making sure complex projects stay on time and within scope. Because I know this project is so important to you, I personally requested John to lead this project. In addition to his management experience, John really understands this domain and your sector. He’ll be a great go-to guy. He can provide guidance on process, how things are done in the domain, read the company, and suggest best practices.

John lives in Santa Clara, and he’s an avid white-water rafter and community advocate. Last year, he led a team of ten at-risk inner-city youths through California rapids. The teens called him Iron John. Whenever they were unsure what to do next, he had a calm and confident answer. I’m proud to call John a friend and colleague.”

This introduction is worth gold. It establishes John’s technical mastery and also showcases John as a likeable and trustworthy person.

About the Author

arun_nith_blog.jpgArun Nithyanandam is a Strategy and Management Consultant based in Silicon Valley. Arun has managed multiple multi-million dollar IT projects in US and Europe across verticals. His current focus areas are Enterprise Contract Management Systems (deploying Nextance proposal-to-revenue and source-to-savings solutions to help companies improve financial performance and lower risk) and Enterprise Content Management Systems. Arun works with CIGNEX Technologies, a provider of Open Source based enterprise content management solutions.

During his spare time (if any) Arun enjoys hiking and reading.

Arun is currently working on a book (co-authored with Bill Sherman) code named “Managing Multi-million dollar projects” to be published in 2008.

For the collection of all Arun’s articles, please visit Squidoo Lens Arun Says

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