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Building Successful Partnerships with eLearning Vendors

I’ve been a corporate training (elearning vendor) Project Manager for eight years and during that time I’ve worked with some truly talented, smart, and decisive clients. I strive to build an effective partnership with all of my clients, but some projects stand out as especially successful collaborations. These behaviors stood out:

    • Be available—Questions always come up, be responsive and specific when clarification is needed. It’s nice to have the kind of relationship that allows for tossing ideas around and problem solving together, which requires making time for discussion.

• Be friendly—You’re going to be working together for an extended amount of time, might as well enjoy it. Asking about vacations, weekends, or how the day is going help keep in perspective that the project is only a portion of our daily responsibilities and shows an interest in the team beyond the parameters of the scope.

• Communicate the good and the bad—Emails and calls describing what’s going well are always appreciated and often unexpected. When there are problems, talking directly to the Project Manager (and not someone above or below them) about the issue and possible solutions is usually the most effective way to move past the snag.

• Meet communicated deadlines—If you’re late with a review or key information, realize the project team may not be able to completely make up for that delay. The triple constraint of scope, time, and cost means that if one side of the triangle is impacted, you can expect at least one other element to increase as well.

• Move past problems quickly—If a mistake is made, try not to let a disappointment take away from weeks or months of good work.

I’m not sure the Project Manager I worked with would rate me as a perfect client, but thinking about this list actually did influence how I responded throughout the project. I still think the eLearning vendor Project Manager has the ultimate responsibility for clear communication and ensuring the timeline, budget, and quality standards are met, but there are things a client can do to effectively partner with the vendor team and make the project a lot more enjoyable.

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