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6 April 2007

RATER: Service quality and projects

Both a business analyst and a project manager operate as consultants to a client organisation, and project teams operate as service delivery organisations. The RATER service quality framework is a good tool for project teams and team members to manage the quality of service to our clients.

I have written about RATER before and discussed where it came from and how it is supposed to work.

The five aspects of the RATER framework are reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy and responsiveness, and it is performance on these measurable features that have been shown to most influence customer perceptions of quality.

Of course the relative importance of each aspect will vary from project to project and stakeholder to stakeholder. The PM and/or BA will have to use their instincts and analysis skills to work out what is most important to whom.

The PM and BA are the primary points of contact for the project team into the client organisation and they are where this system can make the best impact, but anyone on a project team could learn from this framework and apply it to how they deal with their clients and stakeholders.

This week I want to delver further into RATER in the project context. I want to discuss how project teams, and in particular project mangers and business analysts, can use RATER to improve their effectiveness and their stakeholder’s satisfaction with their work.

What makes me think that RATER is appropriate to projects is the belief that many projects have two faces to their success. One is the delivery of the scope – was it on time, to quality and at the right price? And the other is the personal experience the team deliver along the way.

For example, in many organisations the team is expected to deliver a bunch of additional things, like compliance to business processes, happy peripheral stakeholders, coaching and developing junior staff (next season’s BAs) and so on.

So, each of the next five posts will look at the five aspects of the RATER model and see how they could be applied by PM/BAs and project teams.