Understanding How to be a Great Client
You’re looking for a great partner to help your business grow, and we’re looking for a great partner to work for. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
*Make yourself available
*We’re looking for a commitment. During our project, we’ll be asking a member of your team to act as a Product Manager. The Product Manager acts as the aggregator and distiller of these opinions by maintaining a prioritized backlog. If that sounds challenging, that’s because it is! Don’t worry though, we’ll be providing plenty of help and feedback to ensure that you understand what we need out of a Product Manager. We’ll work with you to understand the process of setting project goals and vision, maintaining a User Story Map, slicing releases, writing user stories, and doing feature acceptance.
We ask the identified Product Manager to dedicate around 20 hours per week to working with our development team. It’s important to point out that the Product Manager is not a Project Manager. They are not responsible for managing the people on the project, or the schedule of when work is completed. Instead, we want the Product Manager focusing on helping us discover, define, and refine the best product possible.
*Great clients have a clear understanding of their end goal. If you have a hard deadline, features that are critical for launch, make it loud and clear so that we can create the best project roadmap together. Need to stick to an exact budget? Communicating helps us backlog features and functions not required for launch, while keeping the project within your budget and capturing those needs at the same time so they are not forgotten.
*Get involved, challenge us, drive
*Our approach encourages a tight feedback loop. The goal is to have a consistent outlook and runway of what we are going to be working on next, based on your business needs. We start with your vision and fill in the details as we go, together. This collaboration yields the best results: software you can use, that works the way you expect. We can always advise, but you call the shots week to week. We want to stay focused on a smaller sub set rather than get ahead of ourselves. Our kanban board has an up next column and from there, we start to move things as we work, ordering them based on importance.
*Be open to changing your mind
*Our best client relationships are collaborative. You drive, but it’s important that you stay open-minded and trust us to work with you to shape your vision into a truly great finished product.
We’ve been building software for over a decade and you are hiring us not just to write code, but to consult on best practices, challenge your assumptions, and to suggest ideas you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
Just as we want our clients to challenge us, we won’t be afraid of pushing right back. This dynamic means we’ll be open, honest, and up-front about what it takes to get to the best possible outcome, but it may not always be what you want to hear. Great clients dive into our acceptance testing workflow helps to reduce the amount of risk on a project, reduce re-work and limit bugs getting to production.
*The word custom often has dollar signs behind - and that’s true for custom software. Our aim is always to drive as much value as possible, and we’ll never agree to a budget we can’t realistically meet. With that in mind, it’s important for our clients to understand total software development lifecycle costs and to budget accordingly. Depending on the project needs, the core development (while typically the most significant cost) is likely not the only cost.
Clients should expect to have a separate budget set aside for a marketing strategy, advertising, customer acquisition, content generation, support staff, hosting, continued development and maintenance, and day to day operations. It’s also important to budget for an internal “product owner” resource’s time throughout the development process. It’s incredibly important that you share your total project budget with us up front, so that we can realistically deliver the best value to you.
*Know how we bill
*As a boutique consultancy, it’s important to us that our clients understand exactly how we bill, when we invoice, and that they have the capital on hand to pay in a timely manner.
We invoice bi-weekly and bill clients by the week …
*Think of this as a partnership
*Our clients view us as an extension of their team, either in addition to their exciting techies or as a fill in innovation/ technology c-level. We approach relationships as a trustee, with your best interests in mind. Trust is everything and practicing empathy is vital to us, so much so, they’re plastered on our walls as core values. We value our clients, and are proud of those we’ve been working with for many years across multiple projects. We’re excited to find new partners looking for the same kind of relationship.