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Sam Barnes is a Development Team Manager at Global Personals. Although a little short for a Stormtrooper, he can be found posting articles at thesambarnes.com, a blog dedicated to the subject of Web Project Management.
OK, so this is a yet another article about dealing with clients. But let’s face it — it doesn’t matter how well you can design or code; as a freelancer or if you're running a digital agency, if you don’t get the client management right, it can spell disaster for your business. By getting it right from the very beginning, you’ll most likely see things flourish.
In a previous article on How to Explain to Clients they are Wrong, I discussed one aspect of client management, but oh my, there are so many and that is why I would like to discuss yet another aspect in this article: how to maintain project productivity and momentum when working with clients.
GIFs of spinning @s on the "Contact us" page. Common usability mistakes for the sake of visual appeal. Splash pages. Fancy search box. No whitespace. Music on page load. Home page banner of a jigsaw-puzzle globe with a piece missing. Sometimes you just know that what a client is requesting is wrong and that you have to find a way to tell them. But how?
Before getting into how to explain to a client that they're wrong, ask yourself, "Is the client actually wrong to begin with?" Just because you don't approve of the direction they're taking or of a request they've made doesn't necessarily mean it is not a step in the right direction for the project. To be able to answer this question effectively, you need to train yourself to be completely objective and humble when dealing with client requests.
How many times have you been completely confused at how that 'small' project turned into such a big one costing double and taking three times the length you estimated? Many of you will say estimating time for web projects accurately is an oxymoron, but by applying a few effective techniques it's possible to dramatically increase the accuracy of most web project estimates.
So why is underestimating so common? There are several reasons, which are freely admitted amongst freelancers and web agencies, as to why web projects are so commonly underestimated - they include: a) the technologies required by the project have never been used before, b) at the time of estimating, there are grey areas or complete unknowns; c) the client operates in a specialized industry and the solution needs bespoke features that are not familiar to the supplier and d) splitting the project down into the detail would require as much as work as the requirements gathering phase that is chargeable.
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