Dynamic ways to work with your clients

Sometimes the best solution for your client is to be the most flexible developer you can possibly be; do only what is required, in and around what it is they are doing. 

Recently I have been working with a couple of clients for whom the agreed project structure is quite separated from the norm. Traditionally, a project starts off with a brief - a lengthy, detailed document listing absolutely everything the client is looking for in a website, and usually more besides. 

As a developer, I have to take this brief, work through page by page, line by line, and document a specific technical solution that matches these requirements, and then estimate a cost based on this analysis. This process is obviously time consuming, but also fraught with inaccuracy. For anything other than the most trivial of tasks, estimation is statistically not much better than guessing. Beyond that however, because we didn’t write the brief, it’s really difficult for us as developers to understand how much you want any given line item. Even if you go to the effort of applying a “high, medium, low” type categorisation to your requirements, it doesn’t really answer “at what price”. If widget x costs 2 hours to implement, then you might want it a lot, but if it’s 20 hours, you might be less inclined. 

All this gets wrapped up into what is ultimately a single number, that the client umms and ahhs over and decides whether they want to go ahead with it or not. Yes, this process is a necessary evil, and despite its flaws, we’re stuck with it, but for some clients, there’s much more flexible ways of working available to them, that will save them heaps of money, and get them the exact outcome they’re looking for. 

And no, I’m not talking about Agile. Yes, Agile works, and it’s fantastic for many types of projects, but for much smaller things, it’s overkill. What I’m talking about is just straight up and down work sharing with the client - something that is made possible by the power of modern page builders. 

A project can start with as little as a couple of hours effort to get a website setup, deployed into staging, and configured with a base theme and enough basic modules to get the client up and running. From there, they’ve got a blank canvas to build whatever it is they want, and at any point in that project, I can just straight in to assist with technical tasks, help on how something works, styling elements to meet a specific design, and so on. 

This style of working requires a hands-on type of client who is comfortable with this sort of web-building process, and accepts that there are certain limitations that may be inherent in the tools we’re using, and is prepared to change their requirements to meet. 

What they get in return however is a website that THEY get to design, with all the off-the-shelf layouts and widgets they could ever need, backed by technical support to achieve specific outcomes. This is *MUCH* cheaper for the client than the traditional way of working, my bill may end up being 20 or 30 hours, as opposed to weeks of development work in a more traditional structure. 

If you’re looking for a development agency that is able to think outside the traditional solution box, and work WITH your team rather than on their own, then come talk to us at Assembler. We love these sorts of projects, so get in touch with us below! 

Let's Work