Talk about the lingo
We’ve noticed a trend of expectation misalignment that stems from insufficient understanding of terms and phases of any digital project. Assuming everyone understands what some general terms mean is the butcher of relationships, Jack the Ripper of proper expectations. For example, when someone says “look & feel”, it is virtually impossible we all think it means the same thing.
Yes, the cockup could be as simple as that. Here comes the most common misinterpretations:
The potential traps in the workshop with clients
The purpose of the workshop is to take a good, hard, structured look into your present situation. Your needs, blockers, strengths and weaknesses, traps and opportunities, risks, business goals etc. Basically, we all need to look at the problem we are collectively solving for you, from as many angles as possible. You bring your wishes and insider knowledge, we bring our experience and expertise in UX/UI design, development, copywriting, data analysis, branding, etc.
Some parts of the process are rigid and structured. Like crunching numbers, prioritizing products and services, choosing angles of attack etc. But there are also fun, loose and wacky sections of this journey, those more susceptible to crazy brainstorming, brewing of fresh ideas and generally having fun while basically doing good things for the client. This latter part absolutely needs to be there. It is essential for the process. But it is also a substantial bull trap.
We’re your advisor, a guide, a friend in this process, not just the mechanic
The problem starts when clients start mixing these two very different stages up. It is normal for every client to walk away from a workshop somewhat disoriented. They just left their comfort zone, big time. They are exhausted, overwhelmed and unsure of what comes next.
This is where the agency needs to make a good summary, a proper workshop delivery document that will become a scripture for us all. This document needs to be a place of truth every time we have trouble remembering all those things we firmly decided upon as opposed to those someone just mentioned. Make no mistake: as weeks go by, the lines between the two will get very blurred.
An agency unable to deliver a super clear delivery doc will justly be the culprit of its own undoing in this relationship. The job here is not just helping the client decide what direction to take and produce the site or app that will do it. The job is to take the client there by the hand. The agency is an advisor, a guide, a friend in all this. Not just the mechanic.
On the other hand, it is the responsibility of the client to stick with the things they’ve committed to during our time together. The workshop was tough. We made some hard decisions together. Because they are based on facts. Because they make sense. Because we, the specialists of all things digital, advised you to take a certain route. You, the center of your business, decided to listen to that advice and take the plunge.
You see, it is much, much easier to be firm and resolute and audacious in planning than it is in implementing. We get that. We needed to do that with our own business, numerous times. We really did.
But it is absolutely crucial you stick to the heading we agreed upon, throughout the project. And not lose track of the plan. Yes, there will be some pivoting along the way and that is expected. But at no point can we completely change our strategy based on fear, ad-hoc decisions from above, or involving additional people who will “just take a look” mid-project. That course of action is always out of scope, out of timeline, out of sense and more often than not, makes everything we agreed upon up to that point close to worthless. You need to stick to the written plan. Period.