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The January Blues, how clients take us for granted

We had a very relaxing two week vacation over the christmas holidays, and when we arrived back in the office in early january we thought that we had a good handle on the projects that were awaiting our return.

However I quickly remembered just how quickly project timelines can impact each other once one deadline slips. As a design boutique we manage a variety of projects at any given time. Before christmas we engaged in a small web project for a company that was under a tight budget, and wanted the site up relatively quickly. As usual we ran the project against an agreed timeline with agreed deliverables, and then as always when the content was due to be delivered from the client it didnt arrive. The client stated that they had changed their mind and were in the process of reworking their content for the already well planned out site. Not a problem. We adjusted the timeline to reflect a new due date for the content and pushed all of the other project deliveries based upon that.

When the due date arrived we received a partial delivery of content. Not everything, just a couple of pages. We explained that although it was good to have a little of the content it really wasnt quite good enough. Again we adjusted the project timeline.

The week before the christmas holidays, well after the second adjusted due date we received the content. The client called and asked if the site would still be ready for the new year. I explained that we would do our best but that we had just received the content. But I was hopeful.

The next hurdle in this project occurred over the holidays when we discovered that their hosting solution would charge them over $100 a month to install Drupal. So looking out for our client we found another hosting company for less than $10 a month, over christmas mind you. And began the process of transferring the DNS to the new servers. This process was unexpected, as many things in web developed are, but we roll with the punches.

The new site went up in the first week of january, and went live in the second. Now there were some things that needed to be adjusted. Content from the client had to be changed, and there were unhappy with some image selections, but nothing major. So after all that the client is angry at us. After trying to do the right thing their manager actually stopped calling. Stopped calling. Their project manager is now the main contact, but seriously how childish.

The lesson is how clients do not accept responsibility for their deliverables unless we actually jump up and down, flapping our arms and exclaiming “this is a problem, stop the project!” My lesson is to not be so nice to clients. Well not really, but it makes you think.