Does the umbrella buy it when it’s already raining or have you already in the house before you go out? So why does that “strategic” project for its event (whether it’s a web site or a mobile app) is commissioned by the customer only a few days from the big date?
There are undoubtedly a whole series of problems and critical related to the management of work on behalf of clients, not least we know the purely fiscal and recompense. That is why I thought about starting a postgraduate course dedicated to project management, in all or almost its aspects.
However, I think you will agree that the major “project management difficulties” (Project Management) are mainly related to timing.
Let’s look at how to start three typical situations with which I suppose anyone of us has clashed at least once, and what could be the possible “solutions” to prevent them from repeating.
We start from the budget approval step. I agree that this should be the matter of your business or account, but if you are a freelancer or work in a small or mid-size web agency, I’m sure that it is close to many of you. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months, from the fateful signing. This happens even when they contacted you the first time, they said, “It’s a strategic project and I have some urgency.”
What did they do? Are they considering other proposals? But does it take months to read two or three quotes? I do not think so, because some of the documents (which later on and in trust my clients showed me) are composed of three pages, one of which is the cover!
How can we avoid this first rock? We may try to be as clear and explicit as possible during the presentation phase. We try to inform the customer that the offer will only be valid for a “tot” of days and that, if it will make a decision shortly, the project can be completed within certain times. Otherwise, otherwise, everything will be reviewed once the approval has been obtained. In short, with good manners, we understand that we have other projects and customers to look after and fortunately we are not with our hands.
Well, victoriously overcome this first rock, there are the most challenging challenges, suitable only to the most fearless.
The organization of the material
Not exaggerating this could be comparable to the thirteenth effort of a Hercules of modern times!
But let’s see the thing from the start: you got the signature of your quote and you made the client aware which material you will need to provide. Well, what do you do? He has given a reply like “But I do not have time to prepare all this”? What do you do now? Unless you have offered to the customer an all-inclusive service including copy-writing activities throughout your catalog, photo shoot complete with post-production images, data entry activities through CMS and everything else, beware of why the worst is about to start!
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First, you will encounter (most likely) a disorganization that will make it difficult to find texts and images in homogeneous formats. A bit of information will be available in Word format, others in Excel, and others in PDF format (e.g. old catalogs or brochures). Images are then presumably available in questionable quality. Often and willingly, this information resides in the various network disks, or are available (perhaps) through the communications agency that, if it still exists and has not formatted the archives, will make them comfortable with it.
How can we successfully tackle this rock? Keep fit I said “tackle” and not “avoid” because unless you’re really lucky, or as you’ve said you’ve offered an all-inclusive service to the customer, you cannot avoid clashing with this situation.
Obviously, the possible solution is to prevent the occurrence of such situations as much as possible, by examining the availability and quality of the material at an early stage. If we offer ourselves (obviously under adequate compensation) an analysis and organization advice of the available material. We propose to accompany the client or its internal referent to facilitate it in this franchise. The old adage of “prevention is better than cure” works not only for oral hygiene but also in our case.
To digest to the customer who will have to spend for copy activities, unplanned photographic services, or online image purchases only after you have accepted the quote, it is much harder to do so at the initial negotiation stage.
Be certain, however, that there will be other situations that will test your tenacity, such as the time when the customer will realize (perhaps thanks to your initial consultancy activity) that the technical details of his or her products descriptions of its services are those of ten years ago and will have to provide at least one “track” of the new data so that you can complete your copy business.
Make yourself comfortable and let your mails run confidently … sooner or later an email with the subject “new texts for website” will arrive!
Test phase and fine tuning
Apart from the fact that many times it may prove useless, the test and fine tuning phase should be like the light at the bottom of the tunnel. Why do I say it might prove useless? Because you are certain that once the project is in production, and you will already be headed elsewhere, the customer will start asking for changes and corrections that will make you think “But then the three months test what they are served for?”
If the customer has signed a service and maintenance agreement, What do you mean? … The speech ends here and good work. If you have not expected this opportunity, you will need to show the right amount of common sense and at the same time apply your contractual reasons. First of all, always consider the requests that come from the customer and, my advice, if you expect them to do more than a few hours of work making the changes and with the proper ways bring it back to the customer who will certainly appreciate it.
However, if the required post-release interventions require more intense efforts, appeal to the bid document that you have signed up in advance or let your business deal with you but in any case mediate with the customer an extra amount (if possible) to cover of new activities.
The situations I have described are of course all lived in the first place, though in some cases I deliberately amplified the thing. Do you find us again as I wrote it? Have you tackled and solved similar problems?