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Posted
July 8, 2021

Communication Framework: How MSPs Can Conquer Post QBR Collaboration

Denes Purnhauser

With the QBR follow up being just as important as the meeting itself, communication and management best practices are the key to seeing continued success throughout the year.

Despite all the preparation that goes into running a successful QBR, it can be challenging to manage the deliverables afterwards. With the QBR follow up being just as important as the meeting itself, communication and management best practices are the key to seeing continued success throughout the year.

Whether your QBR was a one-on-one meeting or one where many people were involved, you’ll be responsible for taking on the leadership position for the work that follows if you’re the one who led the meeting.

Having collected all of the information for the opportunities or problems to solve, your clients and your team will be relying on your delegating abilities in order to set others up for success and control the deliverables.

The following framework is intended to help you decide how to collaborate with your team and how to communicate with your clients between official client engagement meetings.

External Small: Email

To make the best use of everyone’s time, any small follow-up item should be sent by email to the client. Whether it’s a reminder, a link, an idea or a solution, try to keep your emails short and only cover one topic at a time.

Rather than hiding action items inside the text, it’s best practice to start your emails with a to-do list or a checklist with any additional commentary to follow. This way if you need to follow up on this email repeatedly, it will be easier to see at a glance what has been done and what still needs to be delegated to complete.

External Large: In-dept Collaboration

If you need to follow-up on any major items, such as a proposal for a project or a potential solution, in-depth collaboration is the key. Phone calls, Microsoft Teams meetings or even a chat tool can help support the efficiency and transparency that’s needed for successful collaboration.

Typically when you have a bigger project, you’ll want to use a project management solution to help keep track of everything, such as Asana, Trello or Wrike.

Internal Small: Ticket

If you need to follow-up on quick, short or smaller items, an internal ticket is the way to go. Use your PSA to track your time, refer the issue later back to the client, and close the loop.

Internal Large: Project

If you need to follow-up on a larger item, try to present it as a project or opportunity. Even if you’re not ready to start the project, everybody will see the potential magnitude of the issue, and it will get the needed attention and structure to push through the initiative.

Tip: Batching Your Follow Ups

Sending a task or email is easy but chances are you may need to follow up with people to see that things get done. To help keep track of all your loose ends, we recommend batching all of your follow ups to one day a week when you can go through all of the items you delegated and enforce accountability.

For tickets, it’s easy to filter down by due date so you can check this quickly. People will eventually pick up on the fact that if you delegate a ticket, you will follow up on it. With this consistency, it will become a habit for others to prioritize your items knowing that you won’t let anything slide.

For clients, the same process can be applied to emails — just filter down your emails or add a specific subject line to the emails that include delegated work. Then it’s just a matter of checking weekly and sending out a friendly reminder until things are done.

How to Handle Mutually Managed Tasks

While some tasks will be straightforward to manage, delegation may seem more challenging if the task is mutually managed by the client and the MSP. While it may require a bit of extra thought, what matters most is that you’ve got some structures in place to help fill in the gaps for this framework.

Tickets vs Projects

What happens if a task is too big for a ticket but too small for a project? To help determine the appropriate course of action, you’ll want to consider:

  • Are you doing this alone? If so, it’s a ticket.
  • Are you charging the client for this? If there’s a fee, it’s likely a project.
  • Will multiple people be involved as a team? If so, it’s a project.

Email vs In-depth Collaboration

The same thought process can be applied when determining if an email or in-depth collaboration is best. Taking into consideration the frequency, length and amount of people involved, you should get a better understanding of how to delegate your task.

Internal vs External

There may be some instances where there’s the need for internal and external overlap as well. For example, you may need to follow up with a client while looping in someone from your team regarding a particular task or decision needed. If this is the case, the easiest way to approach this is to create an internal ticket which can be used as an email to follow up with external people as needed. 


If you’re working on a big project with your client, you may be wondering whether you should invite them to join your PSA or whether your team should work out of the client’s collaborative project management tool. On one hand you need to communicate with your clients but on the other hand, your team needs to have access to the project internally as well. If the project is not going to be client-heavy, you can skip the collaboration part but if this project is going to be client- or vendor-heavy, you’ll want to favour their processes.

Conclusion

When you do a QBR, you’ll end up collecting a lot of information by yourself. From preparing for the meeting to reviewing projects, issues and tickets, you’ll inevitably end up with insight both from the client’s side and from your MSP.

Knowing the constraints from both sides means that you have the best perspective to oversee the management of deliverables. By using this framework to apply communication and management best practices, projects will come to fruition or issues will be resolved with less friction along the way.

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