Client Management for Creative Projects
While what we do is always generated by the numbers and driven by strategy, a lot of our services are still, at heart, a creative endeavor.
Once you bring creative into the process, the whole thing becomes very subjective. Once it becomes subjective, the process can easily fly off the wheels. We’ve had it happen and this is what we’ve learned:
- Ask questions, then ask some more questions, then ask even more: Every time that we build a website or start writing a blog or create a logo, we start by asking a lot of questions in a formal questionnaire. Then we ask follow up questions. Once we’re in the process, we aren’t afraid to ask even more. This way we create a well-informed project and we don’t worry about making the wrong assumptions.
- Use the following statement “so we agree that xx will look like this”: It’s amazing that two people can be in the same meeting and have two radically different conversations. For every decision, we stop and recap and document the decision that’s been made. It’s a lifesaver later.
- Create a team and then lock that team in: It’s important that the client gets everyone who needs to be involved early in the process. When starting a project, make sure that every decision maker is involved and signs a copy of the timeline (which for us is a binding contract).
- Cap the number of revisions and make that cap known: While we want every client to be happy, there is always one tweaker in every company that could spend a lifetime “improving” the project. If you let that person take control and revise indefinitely, nothing will ever be finished. NOTHING. Have a set number of revisions in your contract and stick to it.
- Have a timeline and stick to it: The first major redesign we did had very little extra documentation As such, the project date was specious until a higher-up came in and demanded it be finished on a very short deadline. Needless to say, our developer became an unwilling insomniac for duration of the project. Now every project is fully documented and revisions are stopped a full month in advance of the final date.