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Six ways to be a better client for your developer – Point 3

Point 1 – Understand that you alone know the problem
Point 2 – Understand that they probably know the best solution

How new solutions are born...
Dear Reader,

Are you a good client for your freelance programmer? I hear both sides of this conversation from different friends. Freelancers complain that clients and potential clients just don’t have a clue. They feel the need to figure out what the client needs instead of listening to what the client wants. Clients complain that no matter how much they explain what they want, the developer is rarely listening and is usually just waiting to speak.

For the purposes of this article series, I will use the word developer when I mean freelance developer, internal development team or external development company. Most of these points apply to all three.

Don’t be sold a solution

To balance Point 2, make sure your developer fully understands the problem and has put thought into it before actually proposing a solution. If, in the first meeting they propose a solution, especially a pre-packaged solution like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, exit the building in a calm and orderly manner. In these cases they are selling you the solution they know, not the solution you need. Your problem is unique to you and the solution should be as well. It’s ok for a developer to propose that they build your solution on top of one of these great platforms but only after they have given it some thought.

After you describe your problem your developer should ask a lot of questions. If they don’t, be wary because they think they understand the problem and they probably don’t. The initial meeting is not when you should get their proposed solution. They need time to go back and do research to find the best solution. Again, if they don’t take this time but simply propose a solution, it is a sign that they are selling a solution not necessarily the best solution. Give them a day or even a week, depending on the size of the project, to fully understand the problem and prepare a unique solution. Consider this time an investment in getting the problem solved correctly the first time.

Until next time,
I <3 |<