9 steps to make a “marriage in Heaven” with your IT customers
Have you ever wondered how your customers comprehend your joint projects? It’s a useful exercise to experiment with both sides of vision since most issues appear because everyone sees things from their own point of view and fails to observe the situation from other angles.
This article is about some of our golden rules which offered us in years agility and open relations with our clients. Follow the white rabbit!
- STEP #1 Do not miss the start check-up
Confirm with your client the purpose, value, and objectives following the how, why, and what questions. Thus, you will have a firm answer that will ensure the 100% truthful basis of your project. Ask the client for a formal confirmation.
- STEP #2 Hold a kickoff meeting and plan out key activities, milestones, and approval loops
GO for a realistic, achievable, and detailed enough timeline for product development as a comprehensive road trip, to effectively monitor the project’s progress. Without clearly defined tasks, you will waste your resources, just like going on a trip on an unknown road and wasting fuel.
The project implementation schedule should coincide as much as possible with the control schedule. That way, you will not lose time and effort. Use Gantt Charts for better project planning and tracking short-term and long-term tasks.
If you control the project every two weeks in Agile Sprints style, then the development schedule should provide the ability to detail up to 2 weeks. The best way out is to “cut” the project into smaller iterations. As a golden rule, always update this plan.
- STEP #3 ALWAYS work collaboratively
Communication is the groundwork of any human relationship, regardless of its nature. Proper and efficient communication can ensure our success both professionally and personally. Therefore, by having regularly short stand-up meetings a few times weekly, your relation will not be like a blame game, but on the contrary, it will become more friendly, avoiding moments full of arrogance, disagreements, negativity, high tones, ingratitude, etc. Create an agenda of your meetings in advance for the next several connections.
Working proactively, everyone will know what stage the project is at, and will have a clear picture of its tasks. Furthermore, there will be fewer technical errors related to the project and the probability of retaining the project will be much lower.
- STEP #4 Be friendly but don’t do not cross the personal line
Add a little “air” to your relationship, but don’t go beyond the personal area. Simple things like congratulating on birthdays, having small talk during meetings/calls about life in general, sharing a joke or two, having a good laugh together, telling stories, and also listening to their stories and other stuff like this can help build bonds that can never be achieved only with working relationships.
- STEP #5 Ask for weekly feedback
Confirm with the client the weekly work. Request a full answer to all your questions, sending him a friendly form with easy check answers (yes/no, rate from 1 to 10, and other options). Most clients are lazy or do not have enough time to complete the long feedback surveys. Put yourself in their shoes.
- STEP #6 Taken into account each detail
From the very beginning, determine together with the client the milestones, budget, priorities in the smallest details, such as detailed budget by categories, and so on. Always, listen actively and understand what the client is talking about. It’s a key factor.
- STEP #7 Keep your client informed
Every time when you have changes, update data and make sure that your client is aware of them, providing access to them and communicating via email in the weekly status report (budget burn, timeline, blockers, requirements, risks, and questions).
- STEP #8 Foresee potential risks beforehand
Make sure in advance that there is a “backup” manager in all project negotiations, who could take the reins into his own hands in the event of an unforeseen situation like staff leaving. Use to be notified about tasks moving from one stage to another. Prepare with your team some outstanding alternate control measures, list all types of risks, and course of action plan “B”.
- STEP #9 Prevent the change directions mid-course and cost overruns
By providing tasks’ implemented time and cost for each one from the start, the client will have a clear decision and will understand the value of your resources. Invite the client to planning sessions and backlog refinement. Here s/he will understand the volume of work, that things happen interactively, will be aware of the time of implementation of the tasks, and the value of both human and financial resources. Do not be shy to explain that adding tasks to the scope is changing the estimated time of delivery.
Considering the tips listed above, your projects will always be implemented successfully and with fewer problems along the way. You tend to have a fruitful relationship full of collaboration with your customers.
Meet us and we’ll be glad to show you how the perfect project match is done.