Yesterday we had a staff meeting that involved our entire software development and project management team. We asked ourselves: “How can we bring more value to our clients?”.
The answer was: “Do not let them make mistakes.” Simple, right? But how are we supposed to do that? How could we control that?
To be able to help them, we first started with a list that contained the most common mistakes our clients made or are currently making when communicating with us. Our purpose was to identify them and to be able to be one step ahead, to prevent their mistake.
In this article, I will discuss common mistakes when communicating with a web agency. Why? Because it is easier to prevent than to correct an error, and if they are brought to your attention, it will help both you and the tech agency.
Sending a text in a photo
Some of our clients find it easier to send a photo of a text that we need rather than copying it and sending it via text. It may be easier for you, but how are we supposed to transcript the text from a photo?
It will take us longer to write the text from the photo than to copy-paste it on the website. A bigger problem is when we need to transcript a handwritten text. That’s time-consuming because we need to understand what you wrote there.
Let’s save time and send texts via email. We all win.
Not telling us all of the desired features
Why is this an issue? We should always be able to add features, right?
Sure, but we aim to be the most efficient. A client told us they wanted to build a website where they could offer feedback to their coworkers. Based on the planning we did together and the budget they had, we took some technical decisions regarding the way we were going to implement the platform. We delivered it. After testing it, they remembered that they wanted to crosscheck some of the feedback to establish some statistics.
We talked with them and agreed we could do it, but with a catch. That statistics page would have a poor loading time because the website’s architecture wasn’t designed for that. To have a competitive loading time, we needed to change the website’s architecture and re-write some of the code.
They weren’t happy. Extra code means extra time and costs they didn’t take into consideration. If they had told us about this important feature from the beginning, we would have planned the project differently, and we could deliver it accordingly. They would have saved time and money.
I’ll do my design!
We encourage you to be proactive, come up with ideas, research the competition, and even suggest designs that you like. But, it’s a big difference between liking a design and creating one for a development company.
Many of our clients tried to do that, thinking they could combine two to three designs from similar platforms and come up with something new that would save some money. Sure do it if you are a designer, but we suggest you let the pros do it if you’re not.
Why? Well, because when clients did the design, we always had the following problems:
- Design delivered on a piece of paper. That’s a sketch, not an actual design. We don’t know how it’s supposed to look and work.
- We can’t extract elements and establish fonts and pixels from a design made on a piece of paper.
- No design for mobile or tablet responsiveness. We always had to improvise on these resolutions.
- There is no consistency if you combine the design from different platforms.
A professional knows how to create and deliver a design that will help us implement your product faster and better. You will pay more for the design, but you will save money on development.
Don’t panic! Giving feedback is not a mistake. Different people express their thoughts differently and write them differently. A common mistake is providing feedback in a document where 5 to 10 people chaotically wrote their opinions.
We had a project where seven people offered us feedback in a document to which our project manager and developer had access. We started reading the paper, and we understood roughly half of it. A part of them wanted new features, and some didn’t know about other components. They were arguing about features, and there were no conclusions. It was more like an internal document, a first draft of the feedback they needed to go over in further meetings.
We explained they should have another look over the document and have one person collect the feedback and write it down. At first, they didn’t understand what was unclear and why they needed to do it.
We then opened the document, chose a topic, and asked them to explain it. Their project manager started talking, but the CEO stopped him and started to share his different perspective on the problem. After the CEO, a staff member told us that they had a different view on the issue and how to handle it.
That was when we gently stopped them and told them that this was what we were talking about.
By giving them an example, they understood what the problem was. They took two weeks, had internal meetings, and sent back a centralized document with their feedback.
After receiving it, we were able to implement their feedback.
Setting deadlines on your own
This mistake comes from the fact that you want to impress an investor, thinking they will most likely invest in your company if you tell them a shorter deadline or make one on the spot.
We had experiences like this when our client told us they had already set a deadline with an investor for a feature. The problem is the deadline was utterly unrealistic. It required from 50 to 200% more time to implement.
The first time this happened, we tried to reach the impossible deadline. We even added a new developer to the project. We did it, but not totally. The feature was there, but it had a lot of bugs. The design was not looking that great, and it made the whole app’s loading time increase. We delivered, but it was a failure. No need to say that the investor wasn’t happy; neither did the client, and we had to explain to the investor why this happened. Luckily, they understood that they invested a smaller amount in the first phase, and after we properly delivered the previously mentioned feature, they invested the whole amount.
After this experience, we decided never to do it again. We wasted more time and money trying to deliver it faster than taking our time and delivering it correctly from the first attempt. We were lucky, the investor understood what we tried to do, but other stories ended with receiving zero money from the investor as he believed they wanted to trick him into investing.
So, let’s jump to conclusions:
- Send a text via email, don’t send pictures. You will save us a lot of time.
- Tell us everything you want to build on your platform. We take technical decisions based on that and it will most likely be more expensive to build it at the end of the development cycle than during it.
- Let a designer help you, he’s a real asset, he knows what we need in order to get the job done in a great way.
- Don’t have more people communicating with the agency, choose one and send your entire team feedback’s in a centralized document. It will help us have a larger view of what you want to implement and we’ll make better decisions.
- See us as a lawyer, we need to know everything. Set deadlines with us, don’t do it behind our back, and then drop the bomb on us. We may not be able to help you and you may miss your deadline.
I sincerely hope that this will help you better communicate with your agency and help you deliver better digital products to your clients. And, no hard feelings if you were the doing any of the mistakes listed above. Everybody learns!
If you want our input on any of your digital projects feel free to book a free strategy call with Teo, Neo Vision’s COO.
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