For any company the most important part is sales. And the best way to get more sales is by delivering your projects before time and with good quality. Confused? Let me elaborate.
To get more sales you need to market yourself well, and what is a better way to market than your clients doing it for you, YES I mean word-of-mouth publicity. Word-of-mouth publicity is considered to be the strongest and most effective way of marketing, the leads you get from your clients referring you to other clients can have up to a 65% higher conversion rate.
So How do you generate this amazing publicity? Ans: By delivering your services well. For multiple reasons, the most important part in delivery is delivering it on time. By delivering your projects before or on time you can save money, time, take more projects, boost your team morale and generate more leads.
To assure project delivery on time here are 5 basic tips that I have used for 30+ projects and delivered all at least 15 days before the delivery date.
You don’t look for the spatula with the pan on gas!!
Getting the delivery done on-time starts with making the right proposal. Break the project into different modules and specify the functionality of each module with a fixed deadline, I for one, generally divide it into 3-4 modules.
To start with, consult your developers on how much time it takes for them in developing each module. Now add 5-10 days, depending on the depth of each module, to each module’s timeline. You must be thinking my Business Developers are smart enough to judge it by themselves and you may be right, but what’s the harm in taking a second opinion from the cook himself, after all, he knows it better.
Every developer is different and their strengths may vary. A lot of time we underestimate the project’s potential while developers are the right people to judge the possible challenges the requirement may offer.
After this anytime you receive a requirement with a similar feature you would be in good shape to estimate the timeline without the help of your developer. But make sure that for every new feature requirement you consult your developer once, it is a one-time investment but it is worth it.
Without proper ingredients, you can never make a great CAKE!!
These basic ingredients for any project in IT company are the documents. You all know which are the basic documents and which are the ones that you create just to leave a good impression on the client.
The 3 basic types of documents are:
- User flow :
This will help you in covering all the aspects of the project. Lot of time we assume or miss out some aspect of the project which gathering the requirement, this document will help you cover all the pointers so that there are no new flow or surprises.
- Per user functionalities:
Noting down all the functionalities a user case can do helps you break down the project nicely and schedule the project more effectively. It helps in locking the SOW(Scope of Work) so that everyone(client and developer) have their expectations aligned.Also handing over the project to your fellow peer or to move the project from one phase to another of SDLC becomes easy and efficient.
- Modular breakdown of projects and it’s timeline:
Scheduling your deliveries by mentioning the exact dates help you in staying focused and setting the right pace of the project, and it helps the client keep a track of their project and set expectations accordingly.
This is probably the most important in leaving a good impression on the client, so do it wisely and have proper buffer days for any unexpected troubles.
No matter how big or small the project is you need to have all these 3 documents and there is no exception on leave-out any of these.
Creating a document in the right format is also very important. The flow of each user case should be clearly written and with a clear scope of each functionality. This help the graphic designer set the flow and create a perfect prototype.
It is not a Blind Date it is your life partner!! Know them before marrying.
Before diving in the development phase get your designers on board and create a perfect prototype so that your Clients can imagine how will the end product look like and set the expectations right. Once your prototype is locked you have reduced the scope of surprises to less than 10%. Some of the online prototyping tools are InVision and UXPin, you can find much more online.
Now you and the client both know exactly how will each page be displayed, what will be the information showcased on each page, how will each button behave and which action will link to which screen.
When real development starts there will be bare minimum need of confirmation since everything is locked and pre-confirmed, hence the developer can meet the deadlines and manage the speed accordingly.
Development is like surgery if the Doctor doesn’t inform you of the status of the patient, you feel like punching him in the face!!
Communication is the key to any relationship. Although you don’t need any help and have everything that you need for the development, still you need to involve client and keep him updated on the progress. You need to understand that client has his emotions attached with the product and would love to see the progress every once in a while.
It is all good while the things are smooth but what do you do when there is a bug or an error or if you did a blunder. Most of the time we try to keep client oblivious to the problem and just showcase the functionality desired by him, irrespective of the effects your workaround might have.
Never do this, always inform your client about the challenges that you face, he might be angry for a while but will always help you and support you get out of the situation, as a result, he will have more trust and become a long-term loyal client.
Best way to not hinder your development and keep the client happy is by giving him status update emails daily and showing him, in percent, as to how much work is completed, and by keeping a Demo-Call” once in a week. This might take 2 hours of your complete week but will work wonder in your project management.
This is the best time to take referrals from your clients, make a good demo call and he would happily give you more referrals.
A movie is never good if the ending is not sticky!!
You project delivery needs to be the best experience of your complete SDLC. The client will not remember how many times you made him laugh, or wished him on his festivals or took the late-night calls. What matters the most is that last mile, when you are making the website live and he is all excited to showcase his idea to the world. Any trouble there and all your efforts for the past couple of months go for a toss.
To ensure that you make a seamless handover of the project, thorough testing from fresh eyes is a must. Always have your best tester on board at this last step for doing the final testing of the project. Even the very minute of the bug will hurt like a titanic over an ant. I am sure you don’t want to be there.
The places where you need to have your cream focus is on the spelling mistakes, the places where the User first interacts and starts using the application like login and dashboard, and at the validation points. These basic things skip our eyes quite often, especially because we are looking at a much bigger picture hence it becomes even more necessary to have a fresh pair of eyes that can scan every detail.
Epitome of the whole process:
- Lock the Requirement on each phase,
- Client Communication: Consult developers before committing anything to the client and never set the expectation too high which you might not be able to reach. Anything extra will please but anything short of commitment will harm
- Requirement Gathering: Have Proper documentation
- Flow Diagram
- Per User functionality
- Project Breakdown with specific dates
- Prototyping: Use online tools like InVision or UXPin or any other such product to give clear picture of what exactly is to be expected out of the product,
- Development Phase: Give status updates daily over email or project management tools like Basecamp, and keep a Demo-Call to showcase the progress of the project and take feedbacks,
- Testing and Delivery: Get the project tested with fresh pair of eyes which would be interacting with the project for the first time. It is necessary to catch the minor bugs which we are prone to miss.