6 Strategies for Dealing with Nightmare End Users

We’ve already talked about a few flavors of nightmare end users (Nightmare End Users) and ( LEARN TO SPOT THESE 4 NIGHTMARE STAKEHOLDERS) now it’s time to look at some ways you can manage their behavior to keep your project moving forward.

1 – Publish the project’s objectives and timeline once everything is approved. End users may still invent new or revised objectives occasionally, but you’ll have a formal document to reference when they do.

2 – Identify a point person in each user group. Narrowing down the communication pathway to just one person per end user group often helps limit requests or complaints. Why? Because users who are chronically displeased are less inclined to voice concerns to the point person when they know that individual is only a messenger.

3 – Create a mechanism for questions and concerns. Pre-printed or online forms may be a good solution—they allow users to move concerns up the food chain without giving them a free-form platform for griping.


4 – Appoint a high-ranking complaint-taker. People are often reticent to complain to someone they feel is too high up in the organization to tolerate garden-variety grumbling. Legitimate concerns will still bubble to the surface.


5 – Notify vendors of potential usurpers. Especially in companies with informal cultures, end users may seize the opportunity to make requests directly to contractors. It’s critical that vendors and other business partners take direction from—and provide project information to—only authorized individuals.

6 – Contact the boss if users’ actions endanger your project’s success. If you’ve tried every other tactic and still have one or more end users whose interference is making the project impossible to manage, it really is OK to raise concerns with their boss or your senior staff. Use this as a last resort, but don’t let your success become a hostage to someone else.

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