If you achieved your objectives but your end users still don’t consider a project a success, it may be time to see if you’ve inadvertently become your own worst enemy. Ask yourself if end users’ unhappiness might be because you are difficult (or impossible) to reach. End users shouldn’t feel their messages are falling into a black hole.
…are too secretive. Users feel better when they know what’s going on, so provide them with as much information about the project—schedules, objectives, interim process changes—as you can.
…say no to everything. You can’t accommodate every end user request, but incorporate them where you can, or send them up the chain for a go/no-go decision if appropriate.
…over-commit. Saying yes to something now may make users happy in the short term, but it’ll come back to bite you if you can’t actually deliver on promises later. Stop agreeing to everything and set more reasonable expectations.
…don’t provide enough notice before impacting their work area. You can estimate how long users will need to prepare for interruptions or potential work stoppages, but they’re the ones who have to live with it if you haven’t given them enough time to get ready.
…don’t consider their needs when scheduling activities. Shifting things by even a few days could make a huge difference to users, so make the effort to minimize conflicts whenever possible.
…don’t follow up after the project is finished. Your large tasks might have been completed but there could still be outstanding issues causing glitches or slowing users down. Close the loop with them to ensure everything was done correctly.
…don’t treat end users like customers. Never forget that some piece of your project is meant to improve the efficiency, comfort, safety, or some other aspect of the end users’ environment.