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I'm a junior PM in small software development company. I'm managing the development of an e-commerce platform for a customer (a big company) for which we make new developments every month.

The problem I'm encountering with this customer is that he is absolutely unable (because of the nature of his business/activities) to give us a roadmap of the next month's features he will ask us to develop.

Thus, leveraging our resources is becoming really difficult. He basically asks us for a quotation at the last moment. This of course impacts other projects we are doing with other customers.

Is there any approach or methodology I could try in order to manage this kind of customer?

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    Can you expand on how this impacts other projects? You've explained what you see as the cause of the problem, but I'm not seeing what the problem is. – Sarov Jul 27 '18 at 14:47
  • adjust the cost based on the risk to your business operations? If he is going to displace work for other clients, then you should be compensated for that risk. Of course that might also incentivize him to get control of his requirements. – Mark C. Wallace Jul 30 '18 at 9:34
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If scope amount is not very different from month to month, then maybe you should just have some cross-functional team with average or higher-than-average capacity needed. If scope of critical tasks for a month is small, then they can work on low-priority fixes -- there is always plenty of such tasks in every product.

If scope amount is very different every month, then you can do following:

  1. Teach your team and customer to prioritize scope and choose most valuable features for next release -- i.e. adjust scope to capacity you have. Usually, there is high possibility of prioritizing existing for every release -- when you can deliver most valuable at first, and then rest of things in the upcoming releases (BTW, when you will get feedback from your market on really needed features).
  2. Tell customer that changing team members every month requires additional costs -- because you need to ramp-up them and maybe keep someone on bench. He should pay for this.
  3. Involve subcontractors.
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I wonder if you could ask him to give you a longer term view of the kinds of features that are likely to come up over, say, the next 6-9 months. That would let your team do some prep for quotations, so that when he comes back to you and gives you next month's list, odds are good that at least some of them will be picked from the larger list you've already seen & been thinking about.

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