Of the many business to business relationships you may have, the technical ones can be hardest to correctly analyse for value and effectiveness. By their nature they are shrouded in technical terms and hard to understand concepts. The good news is that these factors can be mitigated by looking at a few key signals. These signals shows that your developer understands your needs and is geared up to help. Here we look at 5 such signs.
Good communication is the standard, not the exception
Often the initial approach is great with communication being clear and helpful but, as time wears on, the communication dries up and you’re left wondering what state your project is in and when you might see a demo or, perish the thought, a final working build. Good communication on timescales and project updates should be the norm from the first day to the last.
Explanations are clear and unambiguous
When it comes to a cosy technical chat about the ins and outs of the project, you should be left clear on what’s going on, not confused and dizzy. Yes there will be some technical terms, but these should only be there to help clarify the situation. An example;
“The XML sitemap has some domain errors, but I’ll get it sorted”
“The background code that connects your two sites, has connectivity issues; but I’ll get it resolved once I can further diagnose the issue. I will update you once I have my findings.
One lets you understand the context of the problem, the other leaves you in the dark. Understanding the context allows you to add to the conversation and offer additional information. For the above example you might know that the other domain is no longer relevant and the developer doesn’t need to spend time trying to fix the issue.
Documentation means you could replicate the work if needed
Good documentation, from the project outline to comments in the actual code, put you in charge of the relationship and offer a firm backbone to your position as client. Poor or incomplete (or even worse a total absence) of documentation means that should the worst happen, and the relationship degenerates past fixing, you’re left with having to pay a new developer to untangle a mess, rather than just pick up where the old developer left off.
They work with you, not for you
Proactivity is often bandied about while they court your business, but how many developers follow through on this promise? A great developer will constantly be on the lookout for ways to add value and help overcome problems that you have missed or are even yet to materialise. Critical decisions like “which CMS should I use?” and “Where should I host?” are much better made in concert with your developer than in isolation.
Billing makes sense
You will almost certainly have either agreed a price or be keeping a keen eye on hours spent on the project (a useful guide to charging structures here). If you’re on a fixed project price, be prepared for stretch; and by prepared I mean have an agreement in place for such an eventuality. When it comes to time spent clear explanation on how hours accrued is a bare minimum; better is a breakdown of which elements of the project are soaking up the time and why. Your relationship with suppliers is obviously important to the success of projects in which they are involved. Finding the time to stop and ask if your web developer takes the relationship as seriously as you could save you time and money.
For me – clients are, most definitely, king. I’d love for you to get in contact to chat about how we create harmonious client relationships that bring value and success.