So over the last few months I’ve been cautiously experimenting with putting in place processes to handle dealing with the routine tasks us deselopers have to handle on a regular basis. I’m not talking new tools, dope apps, or revolutionary sleep techniques, but simple client correspondence.
I would often find myself spending tens of hours on a weekly basis answering emails that didn’t need to be answered
- Acknowledging new clients with new projects and work proposals.
- Acknowledging friends with new projects and work proposals (they’re very different).
- Issuing project appraisal or requisition documents.
- Issuing contracts and invoices.
It’s never a good sign when you’re issuing contracts that never get signed.
I would often find myself spending tens of hours on a weekly basis answering emails that didn’t need to be answered, humouring clients just to appear helpful and willing, and/or asking too many questions before I actually needed answers (turns new clients off). For many reasons – some beyond my control – many projects I was ploughing time into never materialised, which left me with lost time and no income to show for it. It’s never a good sign when you’re issuing contracts that never get signed.
- You can find my current Appraisal Sheet here (.pdf, 66KB).
- You can find my current Assets Sheet here (.txt, 4KB).
These documents are aimed at web-based projects, but you could adapt them for other kinds of projects.
Issuing these two documents, and receiving feedback early-on, irons out 5 (OK, 6) common issues:
- Eliminates hours of correspondence time for both parties in advance of any commissioned work (regardless of whether the project goes ahead or not).
- Shows me that the client has adequately considered the project – this works both ways (often there are other more suitable – existing – solutions).
- Is serious about the time commitments involved and can meet financial obligations.
- Is motivated to work together auspiciously.
- Allows me to quote time and costs more accurately and avoid ‘scope creep’.
- (On rare occasions deducing whether the client can actually communicate in the same language is always useful.)
I’d love to hear your productivity tips > ?