Developing a successful web project doesn't depend on the work of a web team alone. It’s a mutual responsibility between the two parties: the client and the web team. At See3, we know our success isn't based solely on our technical expertise. Our clients’ understanding and communication plays a major role in our ability to deliver web projects on time and on budget, and make sure that they help meet the organization's goals.
So, from our web teams' perspective, what are the characteristics of an ideal client? Here are some of the roles that must be executed on the client side to make a web project successful:
Have a vision and share it. A client who knows what they want from a web project simplifies the road of development significantly. While it is the role of the development team to discuss and analyze requirements, it is the role of the client to have a clear general project vision to avoid scope creeps and requirements expansions. Lacking the vision will lead to wasting time on building features that are neither necessary nor even important. If you don't have a specific vision, be clear with the development team up front (even during the RFP process) so we can collaborate with you on creating your ideal web project.
Clear and fast communication. One of the key success factors for web projects is clear communication between client and the web team. A clear “NO” is always appreciated when the development team heads in the wrong direction. A balance between verbal and documented communication makes a difference. Sometimes it is the responsibility of the development team to take minutes of meetings or document feedbacks, but it is the responsibility of the client to review these notes to ensure that they are consistent with what they truly want.
Management of approvals. It's important for the client to identify who has authority of approvals on web project components. This includes requirements, design, features, content, and so on. It is always preferred to involve higher management early in the approval process. One of the major issues our web team has confronted in the past is going far in the development based on false approvals from people who are not authorized to make these important decisions. In big projects, we use a Stakeholders Approval Matrix to determine the approval cycle in which the client establishes who has the authority for approvals and sign-offs. In small projects, it is always preferred to involve the higher level management at important milestones only.
Ability to collaborate with several parties. The client must be able to collaborate effectively with many parties to ensure a successful web project. This goes especially for redesign projects. There’s coordination with the hosting company, the previous web development agency, the current web development agency, and often other various relationships to manage. Sometimes this requires dealing with lots of details and exchanging lots of information, so someone who is detail-oriented and organized can help keep the project on track.
A successful project requires a professional web development team and a professional client. While the web development team has the major responsibility and must lead the process, the client plays a truly significant role in the project success.
If you're a fellow web developer, what are some of the traits you look for in an ideal client? If you're a client, what do you look for in an ideal web team? Let us know in the comments!
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