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Exceeding Client Expecations, Minus The Gold-Plating

If one were to undergo project management studies, they will initially tell you that you must avoid gold-plating. Overall, it is not of the company's best interests.

Expert project managers and even literature on the subject will emphasize that gold-plating your services is never the best way to go; that is, if you want your company to survive for years to come.

The first thing to do whenever you're starting any project or organization is to lay down a set of rules and standards. This will serve as the barometer when meeting customer needs and services provided by the company. However, the idea of gold-plating causes several issues surrounding the whole idea of project management to arise.

What is Gold-Plating?

In its most basic terms, gold-plating is when you over-deliver what the customer needs. Meaning, it is past the standards set by the company. While this is beneficial for the customers, it isn't for the organization. And when this happens, it only reflects poor project management skills.

Gold-plating revolves around the premise of basic organizational factors such as time, energy, and cost. It is among the project manager's tasks to balance all these factors and incorporate them together in realizing the goals of the company. This is given more emphasis during times of recession wherein the company is pushing its efforts to cut costs, therefore exceeding them becomes a mortal sin. This is considered a bad management practice due to much concentration or consumption of elements that do not deliver a return of investments.

Over-Delivering, Not Gold-Plating

Gold-plating, although to be avoided in the company, is not entirely a negative factor. It is not meant to punish, but rather to set limitations. To be exact, it sets limits on the scope and expectations. When you have weighed both factors, budget projections should be relatively easy. After all, creating plans such as budget or management are aimed at ensuring that expenditures are kept within limit and maximize profits. These are essential aspects in helping the company succeed.

Gold-plating does not do well for the company. It can be comparable to perfectionism without proper aim. Therefore, much of the company's resources and efforts are wasted on trying to impress its customers without necessarily improving the overall quality of service.

You should note, however, that over-delivering is not the same as gold-plating. The former is a more pleasing prospect for the organization on a whole. This is most especially helpful if you do not necessarily utilize physical resources and still be able to deliver the most excellent service.

Project Manager's Task

It is the project manager's responsibility to balance the three most important factors of running a project. Cost-cutting is not the sole way to deal with it. You can create flexible plans that will strengthen your relationship with customers. In the end, it is all about producing satisfied customers, which is essentially your primary objective.

Beyond offering free or additional products or features from those they have purchased, you can re-assess how you deliver the products themselves. Although getting more than what they get is a pivotal edge over your competitors, it is essentially about making things better for customers. As soon as the project manager realizes this important point, there's no need to add up to your expenditures and reduce an already meager profit.

Meeting Organizational Standards

As industries all over the world has remained competitive, several organizations are driven to enhance performance while reducing costs at the same time. There are several government agencies that standardize quality in any commercial or public establishments. However, you must not rely on these standard settings. The way you do business and deliver your products and services must always be set against a predetermined standard.

Benefits of Over-Delivering

There are ways for you to over deliver without gold-plating, and most importantly without any additional costs. In some instances, you can even cut on expenses. Here's how over-delivering can benefit you and your company:

*Utilize knowledge available in the members of your organization. Holding meetings or sessions wherein team members and stakeholders can exchange views and ideas will be beneficial in coming up with ways to improve the overall service and quality standards of the company.

*Instead of focusing on quantity, look at quality. Therefore, you need to establish a quality customer service. As soon as you recognize the value of your customers, this will entice them to advocate your organization due to the weight of importance given to them.

*Encourage everyone in your organization to speak up. If you can generate ideas that would enable you to deliver quality service without any additional costScience Articles, then it would create the winning plan.

Source: Free Articles from


John Reiling, PMP, PE, MBA is an experienced Project Manager and certified Project Management Professional. John's web site, Project Management Training Online provides online project management training for beginning managers and for PMP exam prep and PDUs. John also writes regularly in his blog, .

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