During my 7 years as a freelance user interface designer, I complimented an older and wiser client of mine who ran his own agency on how smoothly the projects went that he hired me for. In reply, he shared a nugget that’s stuck with me for years.
“Managing projects is all about managing people’s expectations.”
~ John Edmonds, Voice of the Cadbury™ easter bunny
It’s with this nugget in mind that I’m writing a brief article on what to expect before working with our team at Input.
A little context
If you’re reading this it’s likely you’ve received a link to this article or discovered it on Medium. Chances are, we haven’t had a call yet but we’ve been introduced. Originally I meant to share this privately with potential clients, but I thought sharing it publicly would be interesting to others in my industry and help us to continue improving.
Step 1 — 👋🏽 Intro
Most people come to us through intros. Every intro leads to a scheduled Google Hangout where we digitally shake hands and cover the basics:
The story behind Input
How we got started, our specialties, products we’ve built, our process
The story behind your app or idea
How you got started, your vision, how your team works
The broad scope of your vision
A description of your project including platform and features
A rough budget and timeline
A ballpark timeline and dollar amount to get it done
We work collaboratively with all our clients so we try to avoid “big reveals”. That means we show you our work-in-progress like we’re on the same team. We’ll get your feedback every step of the way, and that includes during the budgeting phase. We’re not a big agency who will book a board room to “present” our work. We’re more likely to ping you on Slack with a link to an Invision board or a staging site and talk things in real time.
If we’re all feeling like a good fit after the intro call, we’ll schedule a scoping session to get into the nuts and bolts.
Step 2 — 🕵🏼 Scoping session
This is where we hash out a detailed project scope in an effort to produce an accurate budget and timeline. In contrast to the intro call which is 1-on-1, we bring a project manager and any relevant team members into the scoping session and we invite you to do the same.
In the scoping session we:
Create an object map of your product
User profiles, ride shares, dates, recipes, you name it — we flesh out the myriad of features or objects that make up your product
Determine our level of involvement
With each feature in mind, we figure out if you need a hand with design, front-end, API, backend, mobile, or all of the above
Once we know what needs to be created and which parts we can help with, we commit to getting you a budget and timeline within a few days, and we schedule a call to review it.
Step 3 — ⏰ Scope, budget & timeline
With a clear picture of your goals, we create a detailed timeline, budget, and project scope, and then email it to you a day or two before our scheduled review call. This gives you time to share it with colleagues, look it over, and do any additional research you’d like to before we chat about it.
Step 4 — 🤔 Review
After you’ve had time to look over the budget and timeline, we simply talk through it. Any concerns? Any changes? Sure, let’s work it out. We aim to be part of your team, so let’s nail down how to get together in a way that works for everyone.
No changes? Let’s get an agreement in place and kick things off.
Step 5 — 🖋 Agreement
Once everyone is on the same page, we write it all up in our standard agreement and send it over for signing! Then all that’s left is to schedule a start date and make sweet magic together.
Hopefully this has been a helpful little preview into the steps we take before working together. Can’t wait to get started!