It finally happened. You found amazing lead who wants to work with your agency. He is okay with the rough estimate you made based on his short project description and you are ready to proceed. Obviously he doesn’t want to take any risks and wants to work with a fixed price.
In this article we want to tell you how a project manager should act if he wants to ruin this project and spoil the relationship with this new client.
For simplicity, we will consider the mobile project length of two months. The team consists of 2 Developers, a QA Engineer and a Project Manager.
1.Don’t sign the contract and work without retainers.
What for? The client said he will pay at the end. It’s okay, we can wait. You want us provide you with source code so that another team can analyze it and you will pay us afterward? No problem.
The trust and solid understanding between the contractor and the client is a key factor in the success of the project. However, do you want to take on all the risk? Why would you? After all, to get started you need to invest your time and money, right? There are cases when the project will be suspended, and not just because of the client. In this case, you can be left with nothing or getting bogged down in legal matters. There needs to be a balance.
At Mind Studios we split the job into smaller iterations and work with a 50% retainer and 50% payable at the end of the iteration. This allows us to work comfortably and always pay our salaries on time. This also lets the client easily manage their own budgets.
2.Do not specify project requirements. A short description and a couple of page layouts - that’s enough.
Why waste time on paperwork? If there are questions - we will discuss them later, let’s get to work.
At the beginning of any project the client's expectations as well as your and your team’s expectations can be quite different. Without approved acceptance criteria and a confirmed understanding, you can create something very different that your client doesn’t even want.
Only a detailed list of the requirements, thorough business analysis of UI/UX design can help avoiding misunderstandings and allow you to successfully deliver the project on time and within budget.
That’s why at Mind Studios we take the following steps:
- We listen to the idea of the client and ask questions.
- We discuss the project concept with the team.
- We offer a basic concept of the product in the form of a black-and-white prototype, so that the colours do not distract from the essence.
- After agreeing on the concept - we do a detailed prototype of all functions of the app and create the interactive, clickable prototype.
- We create the detailed UI design.
- We also include a text document that describes the non-functional requirements of the system, as well as the logic of those parts of the product, which are hard to show in the design.
From our experience we can say that after these steps it’s much easier to manage the project in the future.
3.Make additional changes to project without adapting the plan or budget.
The client wants to add another small feature or change an existing one? That’s okay. We can do that right now and get back to the rest of the plan. This is last change for sure.
Actually - no. It’s not the last change. Changes in the project scope are normal. They will always occur. The world is сhanging every day. But, the main question is how to deal with them. If the time and cost are fixed, any new changes can lead to additional team stress and force them to work overtime. That increases the internal project cost or decreases its quality.
If after a demo, client wants to add any changes in functionality, we usually offer them 2 options to choose from:
We can make them in the next iteration, moving another lower priority functional to future versions, adapting plan and budget.
We can add these changes to the backlog and create another iteration with the additional tasks after the development of approved initially agreed functionality.
This encourages teamwork and improves the final result. It also helps avoiding scope creep.
4.Don’t pay any attention to the project while it is under development.
They can do everything without me. The tasks are clear. They can ask the client if anything is unclear. It’s better to get the final invoice ready and wait for the delivery date.
This invoice may never be sent. Even if your project requirements are perfectly specified, there usually a lot of questions that come up during the development process. In the other hand, you should not drop out of the conversation with the customer. Keeping every part of the project on track so that everyone can make the right decisions is one of the key tasks of the project manager.
You should help a client who speaks the language of business to communicate with a team that thinks in a more technical way. However it’s important to not became a micromanager - control every small step of the team and come to the customer with every trifle. This will only cause irritation.
Project Managers at Mind Studios interact with members of the technical team and the client as often as it takes, trying to keep the balance. At the same time, it doesn’t prevent them from thinking about the project much more frequently.
Usually before a new project starts, all the team members and the client are excited. They envision the ideal product at the end of the development process in their mind and how users writing positive reviews. Keeping this feeling alive throughout the whole project is the art of project management. At Mind Studios we always think about how to improve the development process and find better ways to communicate with our clients. This is what helps us create more and more amazing products. And that inspires us.
Good luck with your projects!