What's the best way to wrap up web projects that won't end?
I have worked on a few projects with clients who, even though I did my best to define the scope of the project, keep wanting to make improvements or change their mind on the way certain features work. This is understandable (and I don't want to deliver a bad product) but it causes a lot of problems as the project timeline gets doubled or even tripled. How do you deal with that without losing a good review from the client?
If clients desire additional enhanced functionality on their web projects which was not part of the initial scope, or the scope keeps increasing perhaps you could insert a future clause in your contract for "Change Requests" and you could then charge them further revenue every time a "Change Request" is Submitted. Usually third parties often allow a few change requests cost free of charge with a set limitation, and after that they start imposing costs. If you need to constantly add additional code for feature enhancements, then clearly your providing additional services. If you have existing clients, you could update them of your new terms and conditions giving them a timeline of when you will start charging for "Change Requests" in the future.
Well, I went with a same situation many times. Most important thing is to get the required things done as per scope of work within timeline and get good reviews. ( Get the work done is important than to make a perfect product ). After than pitch that client again with new improvements on his website, He may/may not agree to proceed with it, but he will always like you. It will work definitely.
I've worked with outside vendors on projects where they set, in the RFP response or scope of work, a specific number of revisions. Anything beyond the number they set incurs a cost. I've found this really allows them to focus on doing a good job while in review.
Under the assumption that you have all clients you work with sign a contract, do you have a revision limit? Or just charge the time it takes? Personally - I don't do flat rates on projects for this very reason. A lot of people don't understand the design process and it takes more time for both parties and as a result can drag on.
Your two options are:
1. Keep the project going and get paid (assuming you are getting paid...if not)
2. Terminate the project
If it consuming too much of your time and interfering with your other work then you need to terminate. The best way to avoid these situations from happening is to clearly outline the budget/timeline and if the client tries to exceed it stand your ground.
Hey Geoff. This just happened to me on a web project for a non-profit that would have dragged on forever if I didn't finally put a finger in the dike.
When in doubt, always refer to your original estimate/proposal, and when requests for changes begin piling up to the point where they begin to fall out of scope, you need to let them know right away and be clear as possible that you'd be happy to accommodate them, but it will cost extra. Equally important, you can be the adult in the room and say that in order to respect the desired launch date, certain compromises need to be made, and that further revisions cane done after the site goes live by means of a monthly 'service and maintenance' contract.
In my case, it was always understood that the client would take care of their own updates once I delivered the finished site, so I included some WordPress training before the project was delivered and handed off to them.
The key to a satisfied customer is to keep the lines of communication open throughout the process. I found at times that they weren't always aware of the sheer volume of work required to achieve the results they wanted. That's where we as service providers need to communicate clearly, manage client expectations, and understand that many times our clients have their own challenges in dealing with those whom they need to answer to within their organization.
I want to understand you should disscuss things beforehand. Like a deadline before you take the sunk costs, and how a change in specifications could be charged extra. Anyways if this annoys your clients, inflate the amount of work with revisions beforehand, offering a product with constant communications than one just without, and if you want to read the entire story, read here.
Do get in touch before simulating the price for the next contract.
It is all about establishing the appropriate agreements, managing customer expectations and relationships, and project management skills.
If they don't have an organziaed approach, it is up to you to put some structure. There are ways to say NO and convince your customer, and still build strong relationships, specially when good and factual arguments are used.
I recommend the following:
1. Clearly define and document scope and business requirements.
2. Establish project milestones (gates), which are intermediate stages with clearly defined deliverables that need to be revised and approved by your customer. Once a gate is closed it is assumed as completed, and "can't" be modified.
3. Establish a Change Control process, for any change that may impact those deliverables that has been revised and approved, the impact has to be assessed and quoted separately (your initial agreement has to establish that).
4. Build a strong relationship and be firm. Work with the customer on changes that are material and not those that are cosmetic.
5. Identify new requirements that can be incorporated as part of a later release or phase of a project, and set them apart. Work with customer to actually complete a project stage and not let new requirements significantly impact.
Google "scope creep", study hard, and decide on how you want to manage your business relationships and commitments.
Define an exit strategy. Give the client an opportunity to shift to another phase by saying, "I'll be stepping away Monday so that your next developer can do the changes you wanted. I've enjoyed working alongside you folks very much and be sure to mention me to any one looking for what I've done here so far. I can pass along some of my notes if your next dev is confused about anything, which can happen when projects switch hands like this. I'll be available at my normal consulting rate for any serious complications."