Managing Expectations and Timelines

One of the biggest stress factors here at Lampros Labs that our developers have to deal with is unrealistic expectations in regards to task and due dates. Too often the situation will arise when a client will want us to make a change to their site that might seem really easy to them but could potentially be something that is very challenging to do. What I want to address in this article is tips for developers and project managers to manage these issues while giving clients and agencies a peek into the looking glass and understand our position a little bit better to help them keep their timelines and expectations rooted in reality.

One of the things our developers and project managers might remember from school is the acronym S.M.A.R.T.. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. This was a system that is taught to many students today as a smart, no pun intended, way to create and pursue their future goals. When you set a goal or task in this case too, you should ask yourself if it is specific enough. When you say exactly what your user needs to do, we can focus on functionality and design that is critical to completing the project. Now how does one measure a goal? Well it just needs to have some way to be tracked and accessed. We can track the number of conversions we have on our forms to see which is better and further refine them , we can track the number of clicks or views on a page and see what content our customers are engaging with. Creating task that can be measured somehow will allow us to have some way to track our progress on it and give you the best product possible. So now we have a goal at this point that is specific and we can track its progress, this will help make it attainable. If the goal is too big then we need to break it up into smaller task so that the workload is more manageable and is working towards a common goal. The final two parts of this acronym are fairly straight forward but are typically where we run into some issues with clients. Relevance is something that falls under scope for a project. Once we have a plan of attack and can start getting some work done, a lot of clients want to go back and make a few “small” changes. This isn’t the worst thing in the world but some of the changes fall out of the original agreed upon scope of the project and can end up pushing the timetable back and increase the budget overall. Time bound falls under this issue as well because if our goals and plans keep changing then they are no longer bound to the time table and the project can quickly fall behind on milestones that you as a client want to meet. Sometimes it is better to let us, and any service bureau really, to work on the project first and then go back and make these small changes. This way the product is already in its MVP and you can have consumers interact with it and provide us with a built in stress test system.

One of the things that we really encourage clients to do is to go out and do a lot of research on everything involved with what they want in their website. This helps to create an environment where a lot of the unknowns become known and we can address the problems that could have risen had we just started working on the project with the bare minimum of information. Not only does this save both the client and the company a lot of time and money in the long run it also helps everyone understand the expectations and create the most realistic timeline and estimate. When we get these expectations hammered out, we can deliver the best product possible and leave the client happy and satisfied with the finished product.  Contact us if you would be interested in working with us.

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