Providing Unparalleled Client Experience

By Michael Mershon, Vice President

The Hatcher Group is a growing firm with an increasingly large and diverse portfolio of clients and suite of services. In just a few years, we’ve added dozens of new staff members; expanded our capability offerings into new and emerging areas like virtual and hybrid events, multimedia production, and recruitment marketing; and taken on more complex projects, especially in the government space, including for the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Maryland 529, Anne Arundel County and, most recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Recruitment and Sourcing Unit.

That growth can bring with it a few significant — but solvable — management challenges:

  • How do you assure clients, even as you expand, that you’re able to maintain the personal touch and superb client relations of a small business?
  • How do you prevent (particularly in a mostly virtual world) your team from becoming siloed and out of the loop on clients with whom they don’t work regularly?
  • How do you empower emerging firm leaders to not only deliver Hatcher’s best-in-class customer service, but also to surface and solve areas of concern proactively?

At Hatcher, we use a tool we call Project Management Reviews (PMRs) to address these and other challenges.

During our PMRs, a client project manager is tasked with developing and leading a brief 20-minute presentation to the firm’s leadership, followed by time for discussion and Q&A. We hold these sessions quarterly, with three PMRs per session and typically structure them into five areas of focus:

  1. Project Overview: Who is the client, how long have we worked with them, and what are we helping them to achieve? Who is on the Hatcher project team, and why?
  2. Client Relationships/Updates: Who are our key client stakeholders, and what are their organizational roles and responsibilities? Have those individuals changed during our period of performance? Do we expect changes in the short or medium term?
  3. Engagement Summary: What are the key project deliverables and timelines for completion? What are the key accomplishments we’ve achieved to date, and what metrics are we using to measure the impact?
  4. Financial Health: What is the overall budget for the engagement and where are we in the life cycle of that budget? How are we maintaining fidelity to the initial allocation of personnel and resources?
  5. Risks and Opportunities: Are there any emerging risks to the client relationship or to our ability to meet our exceptionally high standards? Are there opportunities on the horizon to extend our relationship with the client, or to leverage this work for other engagements?

It’s a lot to cover in 20 minutes but doing so encourages the presenting project manager to distill the essence of the review to its key components.

The discussion portion of the PMR allows leadership to brainstorm new or expanded offerings we could suggest to the client, offer potential solutions to project challenges, and bring inspiration and new best practices to other client engagements.

Taking what we’ve learned from the PMRs and holding ourselves accountable for follow-up is vitally important. Hatcher leadership regularly returns to the project Risks and Opportunities to confirm we’ve mitigated or eliminated all risks and fully pursued all opportunities.

Our PMR process isn’t just good for Hatcher; more importantly, it strengthens the services we provide for all our clients by keeping us flexible, nimble, and responsive. These presentations also provide an opportunity for strategic check-ins while a project is active, allowing for any needed adjustments.

Project Management Reviews not only reinforce the scope of our work for our clients, they open up potential new avenues for engagement, enhance our project team offerings, and make measurable impacts for future client solutions.

Michael Mershon is a Vice President at Hatcher and heads the Client Experience pillar.