When you receive a new contract or project deal it’s very hard not to go in, all guns blazing, and start working on it immediately. However, this method rarely works and you need to hold back on the passion and get rational.
How to guarantee the best start for all your web developments
How to Guarantee the Best Start For All Your Web Developments
When you receive a new contract or project deal it’s very hard not to go in, all guns
blazing, and start working on it immediately. However, this method rarely works and
you need to hold back on the passion and get rational.
Getting started without dealing with the essential planning and setup of the project can
be disastrous and although we all really want to get straight down to the actual web
development, coding and user interface design, there are other important elements to
consider first. If you start playing in Photoshop and getting code down before any
proper planning has taken place you’re bound to hit at least one stumbling block along
the way. To guarantee the best start for any web development project you need to
have an effective and organised kickoff meeting.
If you haven’t come across the term kickoff meeting before now’s the time to learn. A
kickoff meeting is the initial discussion between the project’s team, the client and any
other key decision-makers. It gives you the opportunity to get to know the client, wider
team and get a wider understanding of what’s expected from the project. It gives you
and the client the chance to ensure you’re on exactly the same page and promotes
communication and client involvement in the development process. There are four
steps to guarantee a successful kickoff meeting.
Step One: Before the Meeting
Before the kickoff meeting there is plenty of preparatory work you can do. Having a
standard template for your meeting really helps and this can simply include prompts for
everything you want from the client in terms of information and expectations. You may
need different templates if there are several components to the meeting such as mobile
app development alongside e-commerce site development for example. Below are
some other key tasks to carry out before the meeting takes place.
Collate Internal Information
Get together all the information you already have about the project, which will include
its goals, the project manager’s contact information and back up details for their second
Collate Client Information
Technical information such as server and domain types will be required from the client
before the meeting. You’ll also require their analytics data, any previous SEO
information and related documentation.
Step Two: Set Boundaries
To ensure your meeting is a success you need to set some ground rules. The most
important of these is to limit the number of attendees. Only the essential team need
attend as well as representatives from the client. The second key boundary is to ensure
you state the intended results and outcome from the start, ensuring your client and
your team are on the same page in terms of expectations.
During the Meeting
Your meeting should be about assigning tasks to your client and your team. After each
task is assigned you need to set out deadlines, ask the client or team member when
they plan to have that specific task done and expect a realistic answer. The meeting
itself should last around 2 hours and should cover all aspects of the project including:
The majority of your discussion will focus on the technical aspects of the project whilst
the most difficult is often aesthetics as different people have varying opinions about
what looks good and what works. However, think of it from this angle – you are a
professional developer and therefore you know what works. Present the client with
ideas you’ve already decided on rather than asking for their personal design choices.
The meeting should end with a review of everything you’ve covered, how and when it
will be delivered and a summary of all key points.
After the Meeting
After the meeting it’s essential you get every deadline programmed into your system
and synchronised throughout the team. Where possible you should also produce a
report and summary of the meeting that can be forwarded to all team members and the
If your kickoff meeting is a success then you’re guaranteed to have a more successful
project and your client is likely to be much more satisfied and on side throughout.