Customer/Supplier Relationships

Many projects require a well orchestrated effort by a large number
of people. Due to the high level of interdependence among so
many different functions, there will be many hand-offs along the
way. Understanding and managing the requirements for these
hand-offs is a key element of project effectiveness.

Satisfying the project Customer is the ultimate standard for
measuring project effectiveness. If the Customer believes their
requirements have been met, then you can consider the project
a success.

This same standard applies to the internal Customers involved
in the project. If you meet each internal Customer’s requirement,
then you have achieved the project outcome (and the project
Customer will be satisfied).

Everyone working on a project produces something (e.g., reports,
parts, data, etc.). These represent tangible products, usually
falling into one of two categories: objects or information. In some
cases, what is produced is a tangible service (e.g., machine repair,
proofreading, etc.).

For every product or service there must be a Customer. Otherwise,
there would be no reason to produce the product or service.
The resources required to produce a product could include labor,
money, information, material resources or some combination of
these. Resources usually come from both inside and outside the

Every person working on a project is both a supplier and a
Customer. The outcome of their work (product or service) is
provided to a Customer somewhere inside (or outside) the

To produce this product or service, they use resources supplied
by others inside or outside the organization. Thus, everyone is a
Customer and a supplier on the chain of events that leads to a
successful project outcome.

Knowing who the key Customers and suppliers are on a given
project helps to ensure that you open and use critical lines of


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