I Now Pronounce You Client and Developer
Client relationships can be hard to navigate for so many different reasons, but mutual success is always the goal.
Like any great relationship, communication is the key component to make it work.
A client asked me a great question today. He wanted to know where to draw the line with how much direction and instruction he should give us on his website. And unfortunately, I did not have a black and white answer. I then compared our client/project manager relationship to a marriage. I told him, if you have an expectation that you want or need met then you have to communicate it. Otherwise, there is no guarantee we will guess correctly and both sides will be frustrated.
There really is a spectrum when it comes to how this works. On one end there is little to no direction or preference from the client and on the other, there is total client domination and incessant hand-holding. In reality, most projects fall somewhere in between, but there are always extremes. And where each project falls on the spectrum depends on the client and how much they want to be involved. Where projects can go wrong is when a client changes their position midstream. Maybe they began the project not wanting to have any input, but by the end of the project they not only want to micro-manage the project but they also bring in a team of new people to help. We can try to figure out where a client is on this spectrum at the beginning of a project when possible, even by asking how much control they want. Then we try to set those expectations throughout the project. But in the end, from our perspective, we have to play a guessing game.
Our process allows for several points of review. Depending on the type of project, our clients review style tiles, designs, homepage layouts, and more. We want projects to be collaborative with our clients, so we provide lots of chances for adjustment and input. We also encourage clients to bring all the NECESSARY players to the table at the start of the project. We typically find the “design by committee” approach to be ineffective. It’s hard when clients exhaust all rounds of edits and THEN bring the “the big boss” in at the end because that usually leads to incurring extra costs. Our client relationships are very important to us and we take particular measures to preserve those.
Like any great relationship, communication is the key component to make it work. The way you communicate with someone can determine how strong and lasting your relationship could be. We want to make our partnership as successful as possible, so our goal is to be as intentional and respectful as possible, and we hope you’ll do the same!