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Making the right impressions on your client

Friday, July 19th, 2013 by Servage

If you want to be a true professional web designer or software developer, you should do everything the professional way. Therefore, when a client is knocking on your door, you shouldn’t be emotional, nor overly excited to give her a warm welcome and be ready to start project immediately as she agrees on.

Good Habits

Dealing effectively with a prospective client is a test of your emotional level. You should set up all steps carefully before beginning the project. The first step involves carefully listening to the requirements of the client. If your client is available for face-to-face conversation, keep a notepad and pen with you or open your laptop/tablet to note down every important thing of your conversation.

If you are dealing with an offshore client and having a phone conversation, make it a habit to note down important points after each conversation. One time, I had a client conversation on Skype and I thought I could simply refer to the Skype history later on, but when I started documenting the conversation, I really had daunting task to sort out all text. Thus, I recommend writing everything down each time, even though you may be on instant messengers.

I am giving this advice at the beginning of the post because I am going to talk about the project scope, where a good record of the conversation is the main step to eliminating a bunch of problems later on. Let me clarify a bit further, if you and your client are ready and agree to work on a project, you may think you know things well about the project and expectations of the client. Likewise, the client will think that she described everything well and you will go about fulfilling all her requirements.

After sometime, something strikes the client and she adds that in the project telling you that she forgot to tell you in advance. In our terms, that is call project creep. When project creep occurs often, it definitely will threaten the existence of the project and a developer will break either it or it leaves client unhappy. Thus, eliminating project creeps is utmost necessary for a healthy project.

Eliminate Project Creeps

Now, what can we do to eliminate project creeps and/or other bad experiences? The ultimate solution is defining project scope clearly in a well-crafted document that should be read, and signed, by you and your client. Keep this copy with you and your client so you both can reference project scope clearly as items come up. I would advise that you don’t only convey what you will do to meet the expectations of your client in the project scope, but also chart out things that you are not doing in this project. This is called “negative scope.” A well defined negative scope clarifies for your client that you will not do things that she assumes are simple additions, and if she wants to include it in the project she has to pay extra for that. For instance, SEO work or providing hosting like service.

Avoid Assumptions

One other important thing while defining the project scope — get as much possible information about the project and client, and avoiding assumption. If you are not asking enough question about the intentions of a client for creating a website or web application, you cannot get the broad picture of designing. Similarly, if you don’t know about her target audience you can’t meet her needs and the needs of the website. If you rely on the assumptions and don’t ask for the expectations of the client with her website, then that will result in an unhappy client at the end of the project. Therefore, digging deeper is utmost important before defining the project scope.

References & More Reading

Improve Your Web Design Projects with a Good Project Scope

Avoiding Unscoped Work from Unreasonable Clients


Making the right impressions on your client, 3.5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings
Categories: Business


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