How to Set Deadlines | Managing Client/Boss Expectations
1. Before you can set deadlines you have got to set expectations. As a seasoned website designer I have a strong sense of how long it takes to do certain project like page updates to full blown site designs and development. If you’re just starting out you might not know what your timelines look like, but either way you end with your best guess and then add buffer time – because… life. Content won’t arrive on time, emails get lost or never sent, servers fail, hard drives fail, people get sick. And those things aren’t even design specific. Whatever project you are working on, make sure you two sets of expectations before you ever put pen to paper – your expectations, and your client’s.
2. Have a manifest. This is a fancy way of saying have a honey do list or a list of what’s to be expected. On this manifest, that your client should 100% see by the way, you need to list specifically what part of the project you’re working on, how long you expect it to take, and a way to mark it complete. There are apps where you can put in a % complete, but honestly that’s just adding too much to the fire. A simple checkbox is plenty.
3. If it is an extended project and not a project update, do weekly or bi-weekly check-ins with your client. It doesn’t matter how often you do them, so long as your client knows when to expect them and you deliver. Some clients might be OK going a month, so long as they know on the 1st they’re going to get a detailed email update they could be fine with that.
Just remember, transparency with your client goes a long, long way.
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