Setting Expectations on Web Development Projects
Many people are under the impression that a web development project can be completed in a matter of hours, when, in reality, many of them take a few days or even weeks to see through to completion and the phase of officially launching it online. As a result, it is crucial to ensure that clear expectations and boundaries such as those mentioned below are set with clients before a developer even starts creating content or browsing for site templates.
#1 – Always Draw up a Contract
It is essential for developers to ensure that a detailed contract is drawn up, explained to the client and signed by both parties before any work commences. The contract should clearly state information such as working hours, project milestones, requirements for feedback and the project’s budget. It should also stipulate when and how payment will take place. Some developers insist on partial payment upfront, whereas others are happy to be paid in full upon completion of the job – it is however recommended that partial payment be received beforehand.
#2 – Regular Communications are Essential
One of the quickest ways for a web development project to fail is to not have an open channel of communication between the developer and the client. Many clients think that their job is done after they have stated what they want done at the beginning of a project; however, their input is required throughout all stages if they would like the project to be a success. This is especially true towards the end of a project, because no communication from the client at this time usually leads developers to believe that the project is going according to plan – until the client makes an appearance and provides a mile-long list of changes that they want done in a hurry.
#3 – Set Firm but Reasonable Deadlines
Just about every web development client wants their project to be completed “as soon as possible.” This is why it is absolutely essential for developers to peruse each section of a project in detail with the client before getting started. At this time, deadlines should also be discussed for each section of the project and agreed upon by both parties. It is recommended that a developer doubles or even triples up on the initial time estimate, as this will not only allow for any unexpected changes to be made; it will also help him or her ensure that the project will be completed on time – remember that it is always better to under-promise and over-deliver when it comes to setting deadlines.
Setting expectations for clients will not only ensure that they know what they will be receiving and when the project will be completed; it will also ensure that there are no last minute surprises along the lines of ‘can these few small changes be done before the site goes live?’ As any web developer knows, there is no such thing as ‘a few small changes’ when it comes to web development – even the smallest color change to a template takes time to complete.