Fastidious (adj) – very attentive to and concerned about accuracy and detail. Painstaking. Meticulous.
Kurt & Kenny Podcast Episode 3: Show Notes
In Fast vs Fastidious, Kurt and Kenny try to strike the right balance between promising (and completing) aggressive delivery timelines and doing detailed, meticulous work with all the bells and whistles.
This isn’t an easy topic. Most clients want their jobs to be created quickly and in perfect, painstaking detail.
The thing is, you can’t have both.
Or can you?
Scoping Client Projects – Set Expectations
What ‘fast’ means is different for each client, and they all expect something different in the end result, too. That means that the first step in any project is answering this question:
What are you really looking for from this project?
It’s your job as the business to set the right expectations from day 1. Your client should know exactly what they’re going to get and have a clear idea of how you’ll get there. Whether you’re building an app or website, or you’re doing creative work like writing or design, project scope should be thoroughly discussed.
There’s also an unknown element to every service project. Things come up, the scope changes, or you’ll discover that something is harder than you thought it would be. Set that expectation, too.
The Client Conversation
You and your client should determine if you can build what they want, deliver it when they want it, and stay within their budget.
Remember, too, that your client has come to you because they don’t have the same knowledge and skills as you. When they’re confused or expect something different, that doesn’t mean they’re stupid. It just means that you’re the expert and they’re the novice, and it’s your job as the expert to communicate clearly.
We all want instant gratification, and we all want incredible end results. Perhaps in web development specifically, template websites that can go live in a few clicks have set an untrue expectation that building a site is quick and easy – that’s why education is key.
Find out what your client needs, what they want, and what’s just nice to have. You might start with their budget and determine a delivery timeline accordingly, or you might have a looming deadline and you’ll quote the price it will take to get done by that day.
Communication throughout the process is another big deal.
The more you talk to the client while you’re working, the better they’ll feel about the work you produce. A client who has gotten regular updates for months is unlikely to feel cheated if you miss the delivery date by a week or two. Radio silence will result in an unhappy customer.
Speeding Up Deliveries
There are two ways to speed up a project: one is to have more resources, which means a higher cost to the client. The other is to remove features and details from the finished project.
But what if your client has a firm deadline and a limited budget?
In these cases, you might need to figure out the minimum viable product (MVP) that can accomplish what they need. That might be a prototype or a demo so that they can attract investors, then use that investment to build a complete solution. Or maybe you can build a basic product for alpha testing and lay out a growth plan.
The perfect scenario is that you have both the resources and the right amount of time to get everything done.
Setting the right expectations up front can make that happen. Most major problems in delivery timelines have less to do with being on time, and everything to do with not communicating well.