Client Expectation Management

A few interesting posts in other blogs this week concerning how to manage the website creation process. Interesting read if you’re in this field; but more interesting for anyone who has obligations to uphold (and thats all of us).

The article comments about a small site that took over 6 months to complete, and the learning’s for everyone else are in the comments below it.

My take: Manage the clients expectations first!
Your clients will either not understand the process, or try to get away with murder during the process. The only reasonable way to avoid this behavior is to plan out the expectations from the start, and communicate this to the client in writing.

This means you must first understand the process you will use, set some milestones (deliverables, payments, etc), and then regularly review these with the client during the process. Read the examples from other resources as example steps, and tell your client what steps you expect to follow.

It also means that this is more about communication than the particulars of the process. Be clear from the outset, explain what is needed and why, and explain (in a nice way) what will happen if milestones are missed.

Best case: it will go like clockwork. Worst case: it all goes to hell, but you will have 5 important things to help:

– an agenda.
– a communicated and agreed timeline.
– a project scope.
– an established mode for communication.
– a written document to improve for the next time.

Lastly always be ready and willing to review, change, and improve your methodology. If there is the same pain in a process more than once then you’re not improving everything; if you have the same pain three times then something must be changed.

Links:
The initial blog post here, and an effective comment from another blogger.

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