After the contract is signed, but before the project kickoff meeting occurs, there’s a crucial period of time for gearing up and getting ready – for the tech company AND the client.
Let’s call it the courtship. During this period, both parties begin to feel assured that working together is the right decision. The two organizations get to know each other and learn how the relationship will work. And like with any courtship, there’s some primping involved.
Even before the project timer starts, there are several things that the client can perform, independently to help the relationship build in the best way.
Here are a few tips for the client:
- Designate a project manager –
It can be one or two people, but he/she/they will have to be responsible for the overall direction of the project. That person(s) will be the main recipient of communication and should aggregate and disseminate as needed.
- Set appropriate project expectations with staff –
It may be helpful for the client project manager to organize an internal project expectations meeting with the staff before the start of the project. It might also be appropriate to have sign-offs from staff on project scope.
- Communicating the project parameters early (and often) allows the staff to understand that the technology partner was contracted for a particular scope of work.
- Assign project responsibilities – During the project, certain staff will need to play specific roles.
These might include activities related to graphic design/user interface approval and functional testing. Rather than have everyone on staff get involved, it’s preferable to identify a subset of staff that can validate and test requirements, provide quick and concise feedback, and review/approve comps and requirements.
- Information and data organization – No need to wait for the project to start to begin cleaning house.
In the case of a website redevelopment project, we encourage our clients to inventory, purge, and refine existing site content ASAP.
Also, it’s good to start developing new content as early as possible as this usually gets tougher to do as the project goes along and the client’s time is needed for project meetings, reviews, in addition to normal job duties. The same goes for data-related projects. If the solution is intended to aggregate data from several disparate databases, you should be ready to point the technology partner to all your data and databases.
If you can clean the data up a bit before handing it over, all the better.
- Identify unavailability – There are bound to be certain times that you are not available for the technology project.
Giving a heads up on those time-blocks/outages is a big help before the project plan gets defined. These include staff vacations or travel, company events and holidays. When implemented, these tips can transform the courtship into a healthy engagement for client and technology partner.