Apr 7, 2009

5 Ways to Get Your Clients to Follow Your Work Process - NYTimes.com

Generally this is article is a high-level lesson in good project management but it's a useful reminder to me. I know a lot of freelance people who would appreciate the reminder too.

“Just do your work and then I’ll pay you.” I couldn’t believe what I was reading. My client had told me to just do (my) work, yet he didn’t want to discuss any of the things that I needed to know to get the work done in the first place. He wanted to do away with the needs analysis stage and just get me to write a 50-page e-book based on a vague, one-paragraph description.

Here's the scary part of the lesson:

Choose only the simplest tools. For less technically-savvy clients, I stick to email and instant messaging as our main communication/collaboration tools.

I've gone through the heartache of trying to get customers to use a tool they would never use otherwise, so I understand his point. On the other hand I find it virtually unbearable using email to iterate through versions of work and follow progress on a project. I can do it, but the process is extruded and painful for me. Yet I can't find a happy medium where I can provide a simple and secure web-page for collaborating on content that customers will agree to use. The irony is not lost on me here since I am usually helping the customer establish communications and collaboration systems. The key to the issue is the simple and secure. Email is both, and at least for today, the place where most information workers prefer to do work. I've already ranted on how as a conscientious partner who takes contracts and NDAs seriously I will not use Google Docs. So for now I'm going with the flow and I am building my own solutions that I can control and secure. I can usually get my project team to work more efficiently using a collaboration tool, which is one half of the battle, but I still need to work with the customer on the project management stuff in other channels.

5 Ways to Get Your Clients to Follow Your Work Process - NYTimes.com


Lotus Evangelist said...

You sound like a typical Quickr project to me. Want to try it?
I can set you up with a site to test with a client.

Lotus Evangelist said...

forgot to add Lotus Live engage might be of interest.

Karen Hobert said...

@LotusEvangelist - Oh yea, I am. Thanks, I have both Quickr and LotusLive available to me. I really appreciate the offer though. Thing is, with customers it's like the old horse and water adage. I try to work it subtly. Build a secure site, make registration easy, and still they send emails.

When it comes to collaboration you and I are far too advanced for most info workers today. Most are quite comfortable with email for collaboration. It's mostly because they haven't experienced better solutions. That's changing. Thanks to Google I no longer have to explain what collaboration is to my non-techie friends.