25 June 2012
I've just read a really interesting article in .Net Magazine about the importance of project discovery as a freelancer or agency. What's project discovery? It just means the ability to pick the projects that will work for both you and the client rather than grab any work thrown at you.
The result of taking work on that you know could become problematic later is damage to your or your companies professional development. The truth is there are clients out there with expectations far beyond what their budget will allow and this will result in damage to your business. If you're going to end up working for less than £2/hour because the client keeps requesting redesigns then you might as well line-up at the dole office.
When taking on any project first ask yourself these questions.
- Is the client and this project right for me or my agency?
- Will I or will my team be allowed to bring our best work to the final result?
- Is the client prepared to begin the project?
- Is the client prepared to engage appropriately with the project
- What is the projects full scope
- Am I or is my team prepared to fulfill or exceed the projects requirements
Failure to address all these questions before taking on a project will result in disaster later. The most important thing to to set a certain level of expectation at the start of the project. Don't inflate the clients expectations in an attempt to get the work. But also don't take on projects when your instinct tells you the client wont engage properly. This will result in them being constantly dissatisfied and your job will become almost impossible.
The phrase that should send alarm bells ringing is "I don't really understand all this stuff, I just want a website I can sell my products on, I'll leave it all up to you". You want clients that understand what they are taking on, how a website works, limitations of the Internet and of course how much code development costs.
Bottom line pick your work and turn away the problematic projects, then watch your business sky rocket in barrels of success.