Hello there! Here we are again to laugh at our own stories. Our Webster superhero (brought to life by Jamie Sale) is in trouble again and we’re here to help.
Ok, we’re not going to help him but we’ll at least learn from his mistakes :)
These two particular stories have happened to me quite a few times. And funny enough, they mostly happened while I was working a regular job, as an employee.
How to refresh your client’s memory
On this topic we have a lot to learn from support guys. If you worked for/with a big company whenever you need help you’ll need to open a ticket. I often hear people saying things like “Oh gosh, I have to open a ticket just to get a new mouse pad, that’s awful”, but we should all be using these sorts of systems.
Be it big or small changes you’ll always need to write it down and make sure you can prove that the client requested the change. Also, writing every request is good because you can show you are aggregating value to the final product. Here are a few advantages:
- You won’t lose track of what needs to be done, and which items have a higher priority than others
- You can remember if a client asks you why have you changed the link color from #ea9821 to #e05415 2 months ago. You’ll know where everything is and why you have done it
- You’ll actually feel that you are doing something important. When we work all day long doing small tasks sometimes is common this lack of sense of accomplishment.
- You’ll promptly know which client is draining your resources and which one is not. That’s good for business so you’ll know your 80/20.
But this is especially bad when you are working as an employee. Your boss will ask you for a million things and forget 90% of them. A good tip is to keep track of those requests via email (since I doubt you’ll make your boss open tickets to have you do stuff). At least you all you have to do is simply re-forward him his request and avoid a lot of headaches.
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Deadlines, who doesn’t love them? :)
I mean, if they are an informed and educated deadline, they’re great. But mostly they are a guess made by someone who doesn’t have a clue on how long it takes to do things. “Wait, but I set my own deadlines”, yeah, and you are doing it wrong (don’t worry, so do I!).
We often forget about how long it takes to do simple things. So if someone asks you to add new feature to the project, when you estimate how long it takes you remember that you’ll need to:
- Write code
- Close issue
But often you forget that actually you’ll need to:
- Turn on your PC
- Re-read the scope
- Open the right files
- Google your code x better options
- Find the best solution
- Test on IE
- Change again
- Document new code
- Close the issue.
Ok, we are not the #1 people to set deadlines, but what this has to do with that stripe? That was all the client’s fault, right?! Yes, it is, but if we (experts) often can’t set realistic deadlines, you can imagine what a great job the client will do. He just wants things done as quick as possible, and if needed he’ll ask you to work overnight and why not, on weekends.
What you can do is to show him that you actually don’t work 24×7 (and if that’s really needed, charge at least a much higher rate) AND it takes a lot more of work to do than it seems. I know that clients won’t understand this at first, but if you have a good relationship at some point they may even understand that you need to have social life :)