Any work that is undertaken that has a distinct start and end date is a project. Projects usually bring with them a robust set of timelines, objectives and deliverables. Any good Project Manager knows that excellent organisation skills are foundational to successful and on-time project completion.
Due to an increase in freelancers conducting project work, this blog examines the failures that web developers can experience due to ineffective client project management. And like every good Twoggle blog, there are a couple of tips to lead you to success!!
Lets first look at five most common mistakes.
1. Ambiguous Timelines
It is essential to be up front and honest with your client about how much time their new website is going to take to create. For example, eager beavers, especially those new to the business world, will be keen to impress. Because of this, there can be a tendency to overpromise and underdeliver. For this reason, be straight about the expected timeline, set out the different milestones along the way and always allow extra time in your deadline in case things get delayed.
Make sure to provide your customer with an email or hardcopy document that displays the timeline; this will be helpful if they try to claim you promised them a quicker turnaround. Gantt charts and some basic milestone spreadsheets are available on excel for free download, but project management platforms offer more sophisticated project mapping charts. More on these platforms later.
Underpricing the cost of the web development project is another common mistake, and it ties in with ambiguous timelines. By not fully understanding the scope of the work involved, project managers may run the gauntlet of underquoting. On the flip side, it is reputationally damaging if you overprice your project so carefully mapping your time and resources at the start is critical.
3. Misunderstanding the Brief
It’s essential to have a deep understanding of what your client wants. Web designers are creative folk and can get carried away with their fabulous ideas. The problem is though that what they want is not necessarily what the client needs. Make sure that you sit down with your client and listen to them so that you truly understand their vision.
A great tip is to ask them to contribute to a mood board, even a platform like Pinterest; having a well thought out concept is vital. Another good idea is to ask them to pick some websites they like and tell you the different reasons why they love them. From layout to the colour palette, to font, it is good to have clarity from the start and helps you to understand what the client is all about.
4. Too Many Cooks
If you are a web designer that happens to have a staff member or two assisting, good for you! This means you are doing something right! Leverage your team’s strengths and assign them to pieces of the work that they will excel in.
But just like understanding your clients brief, make sure the team understand yours. If there is ambiguity amongst a team, there will be inconsistency in the project work. In other words, when people are on a different page, they will deliver different pages!
Project team misunderstanding is a surefire way to end up with a haphazard website. Conduct regular project meetings to get updates and talk through challenges. Remember, there is no I in TEAM!
Ok, so it’s that glorious time when the website is ready to go live. You breathe a sigh of relief, let your hair down and then go spruiking for new clients. STOP! Well keep spruiking but also make sure to lock in a time to follow up with the last client about the website. Find out if they have bugbears, what they like, what they would do differently next time. Follow up, and assessment is crucial after project cessation; it is this task that helps a designer to keep on improving. Besides, if they only have good feedback, then the meeting will be worth it as a confidence boost alone!
Top Tips to take you to project glory
1. Project Platforms
There is an impressive offering of project platforms available these days. You can manage all of your tasks, deadlines, conversations and delegations from one platform. Lots of these project management tools enable multiple users to collaborate in the same space.
Some great project platforms of note are –
ASANA – Simple, bright and transparent, ASANA allows users to create projects, tasks and beautiful timelines.
MONDAY – This super software is excellent for small to medium businesses that require multiple users to coordinate various projects simultaneously. Equally, it functions effectively for solo users.
BEANSTALK – Techies will love this one-stop shop for their code creation workflows.Clean and seamless – just the thing a complex coder needs!
WRIKE – If you are managing a corporate client or someone who means business (think power suits) this tool is the one for you. Essentially it proves to be particularly beneficial as a professional and high-end project tool, Wrike still does all the things a web designer needs it to do. Map implementation plans and delegate tasks with ease.
2. Social Butterfly
As a web designer you may love nothing more than spending time with your precious MAC but make sure to get out and meet your client, not only at the start but at intervals throughout the project.
Not only is this an excellent way to keep them informed of their websites progress, but it is also a brilliant way to build rapport and in turn client loyalty. Who knows you might cash in on your great personality and get some referrals!
Until Next Time
Hopefully, these project management tips help, and as always we welcome your thoughts, suggestions and guest posts!
In conclusion, if you require a guest post on your website, Twoggle or Wordmuddle can help with this too. We are fantastic writers, web techies and all round legends. Hear that trumpet blowing a mile away right?!