As project managers, we are constantly striving for efficiency and value: How can we delight our clients while simultaneously keeping the project on track with regards to scope, budget, and timeline?
It is the classic “iron triangle” of project management, and usually we must find a balance between the three. Clients must ultimately decide what is most important to them and prioritization is key. We often see clients who want more without understanding that more work will cost more money and take more time.
So…how can you as a client ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck? Here are a few common and simple mistakes to avoid:
Changing your mind
This is by far the most common and most detrimental mistake in terms of adding time and cost to your project. If your project team is moving in one direction and requirements change, this will mean redoing some of the work that has already been done, ultimately extending the budget and timeline of your project.
Providing vague project requirements
Failure to provide clear requirements up front leads to a lack of clarity among your project team members. As a client, it is important to dedicate your own time and effort to holistically think through every possible requirement, use case, and user scenario. The most successful projects are the ones where the client is able to provide a detailed view of every feature on the site, including mock-ups and screenshots where relevant. On the White Lion side, we take a “Wireframe First” approach to ensure all details and requirements are clearly thought through and understood before we begin development. In fact, you can read our blog post on creating clear project requirements to help you understand what we expect from our clients.
Not providing content
Another mistake that can lead to an increased timeline is a failure to provide content for your site. Without content, we don’t know what we are building and we don’t know what your message is. We also don’t know how to layout each page. Will we have videos? Images? Animations? Text? Without knowing what you want, it becomes more difficult and costly to meet your expectations.
Delaying your project
When a client becomes unresponsive during a project, we ultimately need to put the project on hold and resources are typically moved over to other active projects. When you are ready to restart, there is no guarantee that the same resources will be available which can lead to additional delays and added cost if new resources need to be brought on to the project.
Ignoring your users
This is a mistake that can often go unnoticed during the first phase of a project, but can come back to haunt you later when you realize the product built doesn’t satisfy the needs of your end users. Ultimately this can lead to rework, new business rules, and changing requirements – all of which cost time and money. Throughout the life of the project you must continually ask yourself – is this what I want or is this what will serve my users the best? Choosing the latter will save you time and money in the long run
Avoiding these simple mistakes can help keep your project on track and on budget, ultimately creating success and delight for you and your project team.