Let’s go through a few best practices to make that attempt a Successful one.
#1 Question the objective
During the meeting with a potential client, there’s the tendency to get excited and go full steam ahead to get the sign-off, but before you start rundown a few points:
– What is the primary goal/objective?
Most of the times clients are specific of what they want. There are times when they leave it to your expertise (of course, you being the expert in that area) – If it’s leaning towards the latter, it is very important you probe as much information you need to build a measurable goal. This will also give the client confidence even before we start – which is the most important factor of all successful projects.
– What’s the budget?
It is very important that expectations match the budget ready to be spent. If either of them is in harmony, you are better off addressing it sooner than later. Suggest alternatives like phase-wise approach or de-scope if required.
– Is the deadline achievable?
Similar to budget, it is a crucial step not to be skipped, to avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety when you’re knee deep in the project. Managing expectations is the key. Share the schedule with the client after you have a very clear understanding of scope/expectations. Ensure your client is well aware of any dependencies that could impact the delivery schedule.
– Assign tasks
Make sure that the roles and responsibilities are clear – will the client be supplying images, content? If Yes, and by When? If client is not supplying them, is that included in the budget?
– Is there a need for integrating with any other systems?
Does the website need to talk to any of the 3rd party software client is using currently? Make sure a developer is given a detailed brief of the project and technical specification to prevent any surprises once the project is underway.
This gives you a clearer picture of the road ahead and if you have plenty of questions for the client, then that shows them you’re paying attention.
#2 Take the time to plan
If you’re managing a project, you already know that planning is the most crucial part. You need to know your client’s end-users and business as if you were part of it to make informed decisions and build an impactful website. Choose the right tool to plan a project so you can be clear about the workflow required, dependencies and responsibility.
#3 Not Using Custom Audiences
A documented scope protects you possible scope creep later. You must be clear about what you will deliver and make sure your client is clear on what they will get. Don’t forget to mention how many rounds of reviews it includes and how to share the feedback. For example, 2 rounds or reviews for each phase and only one consolidated feedback each time.
#4 Get content as early as possible
Clients get very excited during the design phase, however, it is important to educate them that without relevant content the website design is a mere skeleton. It can have the most beautiful esthetic but it’s content and design together that will drive users to engage. The sooner you plan for the content the easier you’ll make your designer and developer’s lives by giving them real content to design and build for.
#5 The customer isn’t always right
Traditionally customer service have been found within “customer is always right” rule, however, with web design projects its different. We are the experts in this area and if you think what a client wants isn’t the right thing, educate and explain. Remember they chose us for the same reason – our EXPERTISE. Trust me they will agree and appreciate.
Website projects are tricky to handle but it is your role as a project manager to steer the course to deliver on your agreed objectives. Your job is to ensure you deliver a website that pleases your client’s customers, in turn you will have a happy customer yourself.
For the e-commerce startup, they may find it utterly amazing to have 60% of people who viewed their and go to their product page. But if they haven’t optimised it for those who actually make purchases, they ultimately may be unpleasantly surprised by the final outcome.