This is not entirely accurate.
I need the client to take ownership of the project and the outcomes of that project.
To do that, the client has to put forth some effort.
The trick is making sure that it is the right level and type of effort.
Recently, I built a prototype project management system using an organization’s existing tools (in this case, SharePoint and MS Project).
I did all of the work.
The client’s response to me whenever I asked for feedback – “Well, you are the expert.”
This is not uncommon.
The organization was not interested in taking ownership of their project management processes – which was part of the reason why they struggled to complete projects. They just wanted stuff done with minimal effort on their part.
I get it. I saw this in IT implementations and instructional design projects too.
2 things flipped the switch for them:
- That first iteration created a prototype that they could manipulate and “finish”.
- They hired an individual within their organization that saw value in having a project management system and worked to finish what I had started.
As I write this, the organization has a project management system that they are happy with and “own.”
William Lidwell, in his Universal Principals of Design course, describes what he calls the “IKEA Effect.”
Research in numerous fields (psychology, education and design – off the top of my head) shows that the act of creating something increases the value of that thing to the person.
Essentially, you are leveraging people’s innate desire to create.
The person doesn’t need to build the whole thing from scratch to feel this value. He or she can just finish it.
Lidwell (citing Ernest Dichter) argues that there is a sweet spot of low effort and high contribution. The key is completion. Without completion, there is no value.
The trick is encouraging people to put forth the effort.
Finding that sweet spot of low effort, high contribution and rapid completion.