Aug 21 2011
Business owners today are well aware that they need a website to be more accessible to their customers, but they often make a vital error – they tend to approach web developers empty handed. Armed with nothing more than just the desire to have a website, business owners rarely prepare a defined job scope to help web developers understand their expectations. On the other side of the coin, web developers tend to be over confident, thinking that they’re experts in ‘everything.’
As a result, most web developers fail to grasp their customer’s true requirements, and most times, they rush to ‘close a sale’ and fight to stay afloat in the ever-competitive web industry.
Clearly, this situation and the disputes that usually follow, aren’t ideal for business owners or web developers. The seemingly endless design corrections and frustrating arguments that go back and forth will make the business owner think that the web developer is incompetent, and the web developer will start to label the customer ‘fussy.’ When the web developer doesn’t deliver on time, or the customer holds the payment, it becomes yet another project failure that could have been avoided in the first place.
In the world of business, they say the customer is always right, which is true in many ways. For many web developers, a project can sometimes appear like a line of HTML code, but that’s not usually the case, not everything is as it seems. A project is complex, and comprises of a good mix of management and development. Here’s what we think are the five pillars of a successful project:
1. The negotiator
The negotiator’s job is to meet customers and understand their requirements and expectations. He or she can also help customers decide on a budget, inform them about what a website can do, and understand a web developer’s job. When both sides agree on a preliminary budget, the negotiator’s role ends.
2. The proposal writer
A good proposal is one that can be understood by everyone. It shouldn’t be technical, but it should put the customer’s expectations down in written form. It will define the job scope and note what items are to be delivered.
The administration side of the operation follows standard procedures to get the paperwork done. They issue official quotations, receive purchase orders, send invoices, receive payments etc.
4. The project manager
This person forms a bridge between the customer and the web talent. He or she assigns tasks to the team and makes sure that deadlines are followed. It is also the project manager’s duty to inform the customer about the progress of the project and to ensure that everything is going to schedule.
5. Specialised team members
A web project has to be broken down to smaller tasks. This is one of the hardest parts of the project, as someone must search for talents and identify their area of expertise. Specialisation eliminates errors, is the key to keeping costs down, and improves the value of each team member.
A team member who works on a specific aspect of the project will eventually become skilled and excel. If you have a team of specialised talents, the possibility of the project going smoothly, and as planned, would be much higher than that of a ‘one man show’. Each talent must be given an introduction to their job scope and recognised for their professionalism. Ultimately, your database of skilled talents can help you seal the deal with your customers.
(Pin will write more on individual roles and how to turn expectations of web owners and web developers to writing)
About The Author
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Pin is the founder of 1.com.my. He hosts email and websites for his customers on Cloud. He has written two books on Online Business and Linux, and he also founded a Web Developer Group that has over 100 friends. To learn more, please visit his website at http://www.1.com.my