Collaborative projects are especially prone to delays. This is in large part because they require a lot of back-and-forth communication. We’ve listed a few ways you, as a client of ours, can help us refine that communication process so together we can mitigate project delays and save you time, stress, and money.
Map Out Every Detail
Because every hiccup requires diagnosing, backtracking, and rebuilding, even the smallest of miscommunications and assumptions can compound into significant delays. For this reason, we ask clients to give us a thorough run-down of everything included in the project: all pages, special features, possible anomalies, third-party apps, etc.
We give you the burden of forethought at this stage because you are the most familiar with what you want built. Despite HQ’s expertise, we join every collaboration with a learning curve. We are typically not experts in your industry — so it would be incredibly time-consuming and expensive for you if we took on the necessary pre-project analysis.
Of course, we know that not everything can be anticipated, even by you as the industry expert. However, the more you can prepare us, the better equipped we will be to address problems, avoid delays, and meet your deadline.
Have All Stakeholders Involved at Crucial Points
We understand that your boss doesn’t necessarily need to be involved in every detail. However, keeping them out of the loop in an effort to save time and energy can backfire. It’s important that people with sign-off power know what they’re getting into and paying for.
For example, more than once, we’ve worked with a project manager for several months, only to have a CEO’s feedback negate much of what was done. This of course either delays launch or compresses the schedule so much that quality suffers.
This can be avoided by involving all top decision-makers in initial discussions, to ensure that unmet needs and differences in opinion get voiced while they’re still easy to address.
Ideally, stakeholders will join us for kick-off. If that’s not possible, we absolutely need them to okay the design. This is critical because the next stage (development) takes the longest and is the most difficult to backtrack from. Undoing that coding work wastes a tremendous amount of time, energy, and money.
Give Feedback Quickly
The last 10% of a project is typically dedicated to polishing and testing. Because feedback is key to this crucial step, we work a time buffer into projects, anticipating inevitable lags in communication.
However, this buffer often gets used up earlier in the project, when deadlines seem distant. This leaves little leeway later when stakes and tensions are higher.
Because of this, we ask clients to give feedback quickly, regardless of urgency. Simply put, the speed of your feedback directly impacts how much control we have over a project timeline. The quicker you can get back to us, the quicker we can get back to work, and the more freedom we’ll have to make the best product possible.
Use Good Judgement When Pushing for Deadlines
Ideally, we can speed up and refine the earlier stages of a project to alleviate stress from the final few weeks. But if that ship has sailed, the only option is to move the deadline, or pay for it in quality.
While deadlines are necessary in project planning, we suggest being flexible when possible. Rushing work at the end because of unforeseen and unavoidable issues may not be worth it for hitting an arbitrary date. This can create other problems that also have a cost. Though there are other times when a deadline is extremely important and therefore worth cramming for. We encourage you to use your judgement to manage the tradeoff.
To sum it up, project timelines are heavily influenced by communication. We hope these pointers can help you help us better meet your needs.