With an abundance of digital agencies and software development companies dotted about the landscape like currants in a spotted dick (it’s a pudding), what can you do to be awesome? The usual answers are: provide an exceptional service, beat expectations, produce cool, innovative products etc But I was thinking along the lines of something less glamourous – like implementing processes for various aspects of a project.
Why? Because unfortunately, being awesome can oftentimes just mean – delivering on time! Being on time with software development projects is not something to be taken lightly. It’s a huge feat. Such projects are notorious for being over time and over budget.
Delivering on time on a regular basis means you are reliable. Being reliable may not be sexy, but it is so incredibly necessary for client satisfaction. Wouldn’t it be nice to be known as the mailman of the industry you work in i.e. the ones who ‘always deliver’.
Now these things don’t happen overnight but as a colleague from long ago once said to me “Bela, mighty Oaks from little acorns grow”. Or was that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”? So here’s a first step that I have found to work wonders, on my stress levels if nothing else.
Managing incoming client communication
Think about it. A question that takes 15mins to answer may not seem like a big deal but if you have 100 queries (not an exaggerated figure) that are potential bugs to be investigated, changes to be discussed etc that’s 1500mins = 25 hours = just over 3 working days that may not have been accounted for in the initial time estimates provided to the client.
It isn’t effective to deal with all incoming client communication in a reactive way. If you’re dealing with a large volume of incoming client communication in relation to a project, don’t drown in it or ignore it. I’ve started to group the queries and deal with them in a managed, rather than ad hoc, way. This way you can quantify the time it will take to tackle all these questions/requests etc, estimate the impact it will have on delivering your project overall, and then take an informed decision on how to proceed.
The systems and processes you use are up to you – it doesn’t matter so long as these tools do what they’re supposed to do i.e. make you more effective, efficient and help you deliver projects on time.