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Six ways to be a better client for your developer – Point 7 (The secret hidden bonus track)

Dear Reader,

Point 1 – Understand that you alone know the problem
Point 2 – Understand that they probably know the best solution
Point 3 – Don’t be sold a solution
Point 4 – Don’t set a deadline, set milestones
Point 6 – Do the paperwork

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.

Do your part

You can follow the advice in the first six points to the letter and still have a project that fails. Probably the second most common reason I’ve seen projects fail is because the client fails to live up to their commitments. No I’m not talking about hitting your payment milestones, I’m talking about delivering your content. Your developer can only go so far on their own, at some point in the project you are going to have to deliver some content to go into the application. Your developer should have made sure that you have milestones in the project just as they do, don’t ignore these. Your participation and dedication to these milestones is every bit as important as your developers. If you reach a milestone in which you are supposed to deliver a document (say, the history of the company) and you miss that, then they can’t continue to work on that portion of the application until you do. Don’t be surprised if the schedule slips because of your non-participation.

This is your application that they are building, you have money on the line. Don’t be the reason that it misses it’s delivery date. Also, don’t expect your developer to work extra hours to get the project back on schedule just because you failed to meet your obligations. As soon as that milestone goes by, expect all other milestones to move and the final delivery date to move the same number of days you are late. As the old saying goes:

Failure to plan on your part does NOT constitute an emergency on my part.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

One thought on “Six ways to be a better client for your developer – Point 7 (The secret hidden bonus track)

  1. This series has been one of open doors, and I think you put these open doors into words very well.

    Thank you for putting it into clear words, covering both sides of the story.

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