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Clients Have Unfair Expectations When You Don't Set Any

Mary Higgins - Saturday, June 30, 2012 | Comments (0)

Have you ever been overwhelmed by a client who, in your mind, is demanding the most outrageous things ever?  Nightmare, I know.  But there are very simple ways to avoid Clientzilla situations in your Business Catalyst projects.

Never Assume You Are On The Same Page

A non-profit client of mine, lets call him Josh, who is awesome to work with, recently signed a contract to move another site to Business Catalyst.

I reviewed the project with Brent (he sold the deal) in our hand off meeting.  I didn't see anything that raised a red flag and felt good about the project.

After payment was made I kicked off the project as usual.

Kickoff Meeting

So I called up Josh to get the project underway.  After shooting the shit for a couple minutes, I opened up the meeting with one of my favorite kickoff questions...

what are your expectations for this project?

  • Scope
  • Schedule
  • Process
  • Responsibilities

Within a few minutes of chatting I soon realized Josh was talking about stuff completely not in scope.

The project was for a simple one-to-one transfer to Business Catalyst, meaning nothing was changing in the transfer.  But Josh was getting really excited about making changes to the design.

Reset Expectations

At this point it was clear Josh's expectations were not even close to being inline with the contract.  What do to at this point?  This is going to be uncomfortable.

I stopped Josh and explained that his exceptions did not match the scope. After reviewing why I presented several options for moving forward.  Each involved a sizable change order.

Ouch... yeah, but better than ignoring it, or not catching it until much later.  Nothing is worse than doing a bunch of work that meets scope, but not expectation.

Clients Do Silly Things

At the end of the conversation Josh thanked me for recommending we stop and take the time to figure out what needs to be done.

Right after that he admitted his team really hadn't agreed on what they wanted to do with the website before signing the contract!


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