BEP 392 – Project Management English: Scoping a Project (2)

BEP 392 - Project Management English: Scoping a Project 2

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on pricing strategy. This is the second of a pair of lessons on project management English and scoping new work for a client.

Every project is its own animal. Sure, you might run different projects with similar tools and approaches, or apply standard processes. But with different clients, at different times, and with even small differences in inputs, each project is different. And that means pricing is different.

Once you’ve talked with a client to clarify and nail down the project scope, what happens next? Well, the client will want something on paper – whether that’s a full-blown proposal and bid or a simple quotation. And one of the most important things they’ll be looking at is price. So as a team, you need to figure out a strategy to bid on each project.

Your pricing strategy is going to depend on a few things. First off, it’s going to depend on your capacity and the client’s perception of value. Then you’ll have to figure out your bid strategy, which may work upward from a minimum viable product. Or you may take a different approach like hourly pricing. And there are always intangibles you need to take into account when deciding how to price your bid.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Jill and Martin, who work for a software development company. They are working out a pricing strategy for a project that Jill has already scoped. They’re trying to figure out the right approach for the two options they’re proposing to the client.

Listening Questions

1. What is the first concern Jill expresses during the conversation?
2. How will they direct the client toward their alternative approach?
3. How will the client’s timeline affect their pricing strategy?

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BEP 391 – Project Management English: Scoping a Project (1)

BEP 391 - Project Management English: Scoping a Project 1

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on how to scope a project. This is the first of a pair of lessons on project management English and scoping new work for a client.

So what does it mean to “scope” a project? We use this word “scope” to describe what’s included and what’s not included in a project or agreement. So when we “scope” something, we’re asking questions and trying to understand what’s involved in a project.

There are many obvious questions you might ask when scoping new work. But you’ll likely find yourself having to educate the client about technical issues and costs. You may have to dig deep into assumptions and address client concerns. And you may have to present different solutions for the client to consider. In this way, scoping isn’t just about asking for simple project details. It’s both factual and relational.

In today’s dialog, we’ll listen to Jill, a software developer, talk with Ivan. Ivan works for a large retailer that wants to make significant changes to their HR software. Jill is asking questions to try to understand the company’s wants and needs so she can scope the project and put together a proposal.

Listening Questions

1. What does Jill believe Ivan is suggesting about their current approach?
2. What does Jill say about the cost of what Ivan is asking for?
3. At the end of the conversation, what does Ivan ask Jill to include in her proposal?

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BEP 334 – Project Management English 10: Internal Debrief Meeting

BEP 334 Lesson Module - Project Management English 10: Debrief Meeting

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on project management English for debriefing a project with your team.

Project management can be a messy business. You can plan, but you can’t really predict all the challenges and obstacles that will come up. So on every project, and especially in agile project management, you have to learn and adapt as you go along. And at the end, it’s a good idea to discuss what you’ve learned in a project debrief meeting. If you’re following an agile approach, you might also hold sprint retrospectives, which are like mini-debriefs at the end of each sprint. Whether it’s a project debrief or one of these sprint retrospectives, you’ll cover similar topics.

A project debrief meeting might start out with a review of the project goals. You want to look back and see what you set out to do in the first place. Then you can talk about successes during the project. What did you do well? What would you do again? From there, you can move on to discuss mistakes, and what you’d like to change in the future. And finally, you’ll want to summarize everything that you’ve learned. The whole idea, of course, is that you’ll be able to do things better next time.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a project manager named Martin, who’s running a debrief meeting at the end of a software development project. We’ll also hear Jill and Sumita, two of the engineers who’ve worked on the project. Together, the group is discussing the work they’ve done and what they’ve learned.

Listening Questions

1. After discussing the project goals, what does Martin ask about?
2. The discussion of mistakes leads Martin to ask a related question about what topic?
3. What does Martin do at the end of the meeting?

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BEP 329 – Project Management English 9: Handover Meeting

BEP 329 Lesson Module - Project Management English 9: Handover Meeting

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on project management English for handing over a finished project to the client.

Nobody forgets to hold a kickoff meeting to get a project started. But unfortunately, many teams fail to hold a final meeting to bring their project cleanly to a close. Whether you’re following agile or a more traditional approach, a project handover meeting is essential. For one thing, it’s a chance to talk about how the project went and get some valuable feedback from the client. It’s also a chance to take care of any small contractual issues and make sure the client agrees that you’ve fulfilled the project goals.

But a final project handover meeting isn’t only about looking back at what’s already been done. It’s also about opening the door to future work. After all, it’s much easier to sell more to existing clients than it is to find new clients. That could mean future work that builds on what you’ve just completed. Or it might mean identifying new needs that you can help address.

But before you start talking about future work, you should set a positive tone and ask the client for their impressions of the project. You might learn something useful that you can use in other projects. Then you can remind the client how your work fits into a broader plan for the future. That will set the stage for discussing possible future upgrades or additional support.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Martin, a project manager with a software company called OptiTech. They’ve just finished developing software for a logistics company. Martin is meeting with Liam, the IT manager for the logistics company, for the final project handover. During the discussion, Martin will use some useful project management English to steer the meeting to a successful conclusion.

Listening Questions

1. What is the first question that Martin asks Liam?
2. What does Martin suggest Liam’s company might need if they grow or change?
3. What does Martin propose that Liam consider at the end of the dialog?

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BEP 328 – Project Management English 8: Negotiating Solutions

BEP-328-Project-Management-English-Lesson-8

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on negotiating solutions during a project.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every project went exactly as planned? But that’s simply not realistic. Projects are just as diverse as the people involved. And every project runs into hurdles, challenges, or even major breakdowns. Good planning can help avoid some of these issues, but it’s more than likely that you’ll need to use your problem-solving skills at some point.

Some of these problems might be with your project team. But others could involve the client. In many cases, this means something comes up mid-project that neither of you anticipated. Lack of information, timeline issues, scope changes – there are a thousand different issues that might come up that will test your project management skills.

Solving these kinds of problems will require more than just basic project management English. For starters, you may need to explain different options to the client. But you’ll need to be careful to avoid liability when you can, and you might also need to resist committing to a timeline. These are important aspects of English for negotiating a solution.

And that word “solution” is the key. Your goal is to get to a solution that you can both agree to so that the project can still meet its original goals. And just like in any negotiation, that will probably involve proposing a compromise. Of course, agreements should be put in writing, so you’ll have to document any solutions you agree on.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Jill, a project manager with a software developer. They’ve been building a new system for a logistics company. Jill is talking with the Liam, the IT manager for the client, about a problem that has come up near the end of their project. Jill needs to negotiate a good solution to the problem.

Listening Questions

1. What are the options Jill lays out at the start of the meeting?
2. When Liam asks about how long it will take, how does Jill respond?
3. What is the compromise solution that Jill suggests?

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