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Cut the Baloney Sandwich!
Do’s and Don’ts For Working With Clients
Jacqueline Stetson Pastore
Founder & CEO of UX Gofer
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• Have weekly live call to talk about the project.
• Write up a weekly status report of status of the project.
• Any verba...
• Don’t assume anyone knows or remembers anything.
• Explain process.
• “I’m sure everyone knows this already, but just to...
• Share your screen during meetings so you can take shared meeting notes.
• Include key info in meeting notes.
• Upload me...
11
• Define the project in detail in a Statement of Work.
• Project Overview
• Primary Goals
• Activities
• Deliverables
• Sc...
• After SOW sign off, create calendar events that match schedule and invite key
team members. Get in everyone’s calendars ...
DO:
14
DO:
• Listen to client and make sure next deliverable reflects that.
• Take notes on all feedback, even if you don’t agree...
16
• Unprofessionalism is one of the biggest complaints clients have about
vendors.
• Sometimes you are hired because you hav...
• Create polished deliverables.
• “Don’t make me recreate your deliverables.”
• Word Docs
• Use correct formatting of head...
• PowerPoints
• Make sure page title and content is the same size and as in the same
position on all slides.
• OK to use y...
• Wireframes / Prototypes
• Create clean wireframes.
• Remove old information.
• If I request a change on one page, update...
21
• Practice what we preach. Client work gets bashed in usability testing and we
tell them to get over it.
• You never know ...
23
• In SOW, describe what and how you will do the project.
• Activities – user interviews
• Deliverable – Findings PPT repor...
• Be clear about what is a business day.
• EX: Finishing up testing at 4pm on a Friday does not mean that 4 business
days ...
26
• If you don’t know the answer to something, tell me you will find out and tell
me when you will tell me the answer.
• Put...
DO:
28
DO:
• Provide value. This is why you are being hired.
• Recognize the AHA! Moments where your idea earned your keep.
• Off...
30
• If you have industry expertise, you are more marketable to me as a client.
• No significant on-boarding and kick off mee...
• Don’t schedule too many meetings.
• “Don't waste time…Don't treat me like an operational company that’s full
of process....
33
• Understand the client’s business goals and help meet them. Think beyond
design.
• “When it doubt - it's okay to say ‘I a...
35
36
• #1 No-no!
• Do what you say, when you said you were going to do it.
• “Work twice as hard if you are not going to meet y...
DON’T :
38
• Don’t charge senior rates for junior team members. “
• “Premium pricing before demonstrating competency, let alone excel...
• Dirty secret of UX is sub-contracting out work. From the client side, this sucks.
• I hire you because I like and trust ...
41
• Don’t go on rants about process or methods unless I ask.
• “Don't be arrogant with non-tech savvy people... teach and in...
43
• Project Management is not sexy or fun for a UX person. However, it is
CRITICAL to do for a project.
• Awesome easy tools...
45
• Fail early and often – yes but only if you’ve talked about it first.
• Create a culture of iteration, but if you blatant...
47
• If you work in an Agile environment, standups and sprint plannings work well
to set expectations and strategy.
• If ther...
49
• Do what you say you are going to do.
• Add in some freebies.
• “UI Developers had to do a release to fix some bugs and t...
51
• BRDs and specs are dead but sharing information is not.
• “Dare to innovate... but for goodness sake, document what you ...
53
• Don’t wait until a big milestone to share work product.
• Waste time & money.
• Increases aggravation & frustration.
• S...
55
• If the client is wrong, tell them. This is why you were hired.
• “In general being told, with convincing explanations an...
VENDOR DO’S:
1. Over-Communicate
2. Follow SOW / instructions
3. Incorporate feedback
4. Deliver high-quality work
5. Take...
58
Be honest. Be transparent.
Be professional. Do your homework.
Bring me expertise I don't have.
Don’t be this dude.
59
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Cut the Baloney Sandwich - Jacqueline Stetson Pastore

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As a UX Pro, I've dealt with clients for 15 years doing user research and product design. Some clients are a dream while others can be sheer nightmares. We all develop strategies to cope and to CYA (Cover Your Apples). In 2014, I became an entrepreneur and "The Client." I discovered a whole new world of Baloney Sandwiches that vendors were trying to feed me. Talking to other Product Owners and CEO's, I discovered some trends when working with designers, consulting firms, agencies, and dev houses. I realized that my consulting practice was guilty of some of these no-no's too. This talk will go over Dos and Don'ts for working with clients. We'll cover things like visibility, process, milestones, work products, and more.

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Cut the Baloney Sandwich - Jacqueline Stetson Pastore

  1. 1. Cut the Baloney Sandwich! Do’s and Don’ts For Working With Clients Jacqueline Stetson Pastore Founder & CEO of UX Gofer
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  8. 8. • Have weekly live call to talk about the project. • Write up a weekly status report of status of the project. • Any verbal of offline conversation or breakout session should be documented in writing and shared with team. • Tag team members that need to know about any decisions or explanations that were done. • Create a culture of no dumb questions. “The only dumb question is the one you didn’t ask.” 8
  9. 9. • Don’t assume anyone knows or remembers anything. • Explain process. • “I’m sure everyone knows this already, but just to make sure that everyone is on the same page.” • Recap what has happened prior to this email / meeting. • “As a quick reminder,” • Create useful meeting invites. • Title is something useful: Project Name - What you are doing. • Include an agenda. • Include location / conference number / online meeting link. 9
  10. 10. • Share your screen during meetings so you can take shared meeting notes. • Include key info in meeting notes. • Upload meeting notes to shared space and send out over email. 10
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  12. 12. • Define the project in detail in a Statement of Work. • Project Overview • Primary Goals • Activities • Deliverables • Schedule • Costs • Investment • Payment Terms • Project Details • Risks & Dependencies • Approval Process • Intellectual Property • Exclusions / Out of Scope • Signatures 12
  13. 13. • After SOW sign off, create calendar events that match schedule and invite key team members. Get in everyone’s calendars early! • At every meeting, update team on progress towards the next milestone. • If you are going to be late on that milestone, communicate how that will affect the rest of the schedule. • Easy to get distracted. Put a calendar event to look at SOW once a month to make sure you are meeting contractual obligations. 13
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  15. 15. DO: • Listen to client and make sure next deliverable reflects that. • Take notes on all feedback, even if you don’t agree with it. • For the items you agree with, make the change then mark it as DONE. • For the items you don’t agree with, put on your UX hat and try to figure out what the root cause is of the issue they have. • “Don't ignore feedback that may appear stupid. Be sure to understand the meaning behind it.” • If you outright disagree with what client is proposing (Focus group instead of usability test) because it is wrong for the product / project, it is OK to say “I am the expert on methods. We should do what I say because ABC and not what you want to do because XYZ.” • Use tools / methods (Contrast ratio calculator, GOMS, etc.) 15
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  17. 17. • Unprofessionalism is one of the biggest complaints clients have about vendors. • Sometimes you are hired because you have a skill they don’t have. But sometimes it is just because they are too busy. They can be very experienced in your field and have very high expectations. • Prepare for meetings. • Do formal research. Don’t base designs and trend findings on your own personal experience without doing additional research. • “One vendor suggested inappropriate research practices, such as combining research with their own medical care.” 17
  18. 18. • Create polished deliverables. • “Don’t make me recreate your deliverables.” • Word Docs • Use correct formatting of headers, fonts, spacing, alignment. • View Navigation Pane / Document Map to see if you formatted the document correctly. • When you use a deliverable from another client as a template for your current client, update the entire document. • Check every section to make sure it is relevant to my project. • Do a Find / Replace for client name. • Use spell-check. • Include a Table of Contents when you won’t be around later to explain. 18
  19. 19. • PowerPoints • Make sure page title and content is the same size and as in the same position on all slides. • OK to use your company branding in footer. • Use the name of this project in footer. • Add page numbers. • Be consistent with punctuation. Always include periods or never include them. • View > Outline View to double-check formatting. • Export PPT as a PDF so I don’t have to go through your animation transitions. (But double-check with your client. They may want your PPT to use in another presentation.) 19
  20. 20. • Wireframes / Prototypes • Create clean wireframes. • Remove old information. • If I request a change on one page, update that change on all pages. • Double-check fonts, sizes, alignment. • Use gray-scale. • Make sure it is projector friendly. Many screens and projectors have low contrast ratios and limited resolutions. • Check for browser issues (doesn’t work in IE8). 20
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  22. 22. • Practice what we preach. Client work gets bashed in usability testing and we tell them to get over it. • You never know what you want until you see what you don’t want. • Recognition over blue sky. Easier to say no than to describe things perfectly. • “You can’t read my mind, but if I knew how to describe exactly what I want, I wouldn’t need to hire you.” • Practice Active Listening. Face the person giving feedback, look at them talking and really listen to what they are trying to say. • Repeat back to the client what they are saying in a different way to make sure you understand what they want. • Write down verbatim what is said so you can go back to it later and review when you are not emotional. 22
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  24. 24. • In SOW, describe what and how you will do the project. • Activities – user interviews • Deliverable – Findings PPT report • Actually sign the SOW. • Kick off meeting – go into more detail & give the detailed overview. • Weekly checkins – Think about “transparent progress reporting.” • Be specific about when a deliverable is due. • EX: Friday, July 26 – 5pm PST (especially important if team is across time zones) • Make sure everyone is ready for the deliverable. • EX: UX delivers wireframes that Dev is not ready for. They nod and say yes but don’t really give feedback yet because they aren’t there yet. 24
  25. 25. • Be clear about what is a business day. • EX: Finishing up testing at 4pm on a Friday does not mean that 4 business days later is Monday. The first business day after testing is Monday. • Communicate about delivery delays because of client error / omission once a week during your weekly meeting. Telling the client every day that they are delaying the project can be annoying and cause bad feelings for a project team. 25
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  27. 27. • If you don’t know the answer to something, tell me you will find out and tell me when you will tell me the answer. • Put a calendar invite to give me the update. • If you still don’t know the answer, keep me in the loop. • I understand you need to get your story straight on your side of the fence before getting back to me. Just tell me when to expect your answer. • OK to give me a preliminary “I think XYZ but let me think on this and I will get back to you by X.” • Don’t make me send an email “Are you getting my emails.” • Don’t procrastinate sending an email you know will make me angry. Take your medicine and ask for a follow up meeting to discuss. • In your email signature, add a note that you read email at 9a, 12p, and 5p and will respond then. If it is an emergency, please call or text. 27
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  29. 29. DO: • Provide value. This is why you are being hired. • Recognize the AHA! Moments where your idea earned your keep. • Offer unique solutions that match the goal of the client. No cookie cutter solutions. • Create the right kind of deliverables. • “A vendor presented charts, graphs, percentages and participant numbers for a qualitative study -- completely inappropriate and misleading.” • Provide data and suggestions I didn’t even think about. • “One vendor presented UX trends but balanced with 508 requirements.” 29
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  31. 31. • If you have industry expertise, you are more marketable to me as a client. • No significant on-boarding and kick off meetings. • I don’t have the time to train you. • Start producing deliverables in Week 1. • User types spreadsheet • Placeholder personas • Current workflows • User stories (epic-level is OK) • Current metrics • Glossary • Initial concept sketches of product 31
  32. 32. • Don’t schedule too many meetings. • “Don't waste time…Don't treat me like an operational company that’s full of process. Treat me like a growth company. Don't get bogged down by theory. It's all about results and survival.” 32
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  34. 34. • Understand the client’s business goals and help meet them. Think beyond design. • “When it doubt - it's okay to say ‘I am sorry, I don't understand why we are doing this. Can you help me understand this process based on your business?’ Treat your client as your own project.” • Tie metrics to goals so I can see where we’re at. • Learn about the company, the customers, the products. • “This project is a team effort. You may be doing the wireframes / design / testing / coding, but it is with my ideas.” 34
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  37. 37. • #1 No-no! • Do what you say, when you said you were going to do it. • “Work twice as hard if you are not going to meet your goals.” • Communicate about delays. Delays result in outsourcing (UXPA is a good resource) and no sleep. Get it done!! 37
  38. 38. DON’T : 38
  39. 39. • Don’t charge senior rates for junior team members. “ • “Premium pricing before demonstrating competency, let alone excellence.” • Don’t tell me you’ve done it before if you haven’t. • If you are going to use a tool (surveymonkey, axure), figure it out on your own and not while you are having a meeting with the client. It is a bad thing if the client has to tell you how to format a survey question. • If I am your guinea pig, tell me and then give me a discount. • Don’t be so green, that you look unprofessional. • If you don’t know about a particular software or technology, don’t discredit it because you just don’t know about it. It comes off as “Lying about the pros and cons of a particular technology or function to cover their lack of skill in that technology. So they recommended only those things they liked or had knowledge in.” DON’T : 39
  40. 40. • Dirty secret of UX is sub-contracting out work. From the client side, this sucks. • I hire you because I like and trust you. The quality of work for your subcontractors is usually not up to snuff. • You cost me extra time and money by being a middle-man. • I can hire a senior level person myself for the same rate I am paying you for your markup. • That person won’t be available for follow-on work so I will have to onboard someone else. • Take full responsibility for your vendors to have them deliver under SOW. • If you have an in-house resource, highlight it. As a client, I will pick you over a competitor. DON’T : 40
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  42. 42. • Don’t go on rants about process or methods unless I ask. • “Don't be arrogant with non-tech savvy people... teach and inform.” • Be concise and clear when I ask you questions (as much as you can be). • Don’t react to my bad attitude. My crazy is not your crazy. I’ve got so much going on and this is just one spinning plate. • Language barriers can be gruesome. Figure out the best way to communicate and put your best native speaker on the phone. • Don’t make me put you off. You should be the first thing I want to deal with because it is fun and easy. 42
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  44. 44. • Project Management is not sexy or fun for a UX person. However, it is CRITICAL to do for a project. • Awesome easy tools are out there to organize your project. (Asana, Trello, JIRA) 44
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  46. 46. • Fail early and often – yes but only if you’ve talked about it first. • Create a culture of iteration, but if you blatantly mess up, fix it on your own dime. • Some good quotes we use to explain mistakes are OK: • “Mistakes are the portals of discovery” – James Joyce • “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford 46
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  48. 48. • If you work in an Agile environment, standups and sprint plannings work well to set expectations and strategy. • If there are changes, create an addendum to the SOW and have it initialed. • “I find the best strategy is to find a vendor that you can collaborate well with even if the vendor charges more. In the long run sticking with a vendor will yield a higher return than constantly looking for the best deal.” 48
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  50. 50. • Do what you say you are going to do. • Add in some freebies. • “UI Developers had to do a release to fix some bugs and they added some features for free while they were in the code.” • Check in with client after your portion of the project is over and give some feedback. Often this will turn into follow-on work. • No false promises. • “Don't say - Yes, we can do that. and then when it's time to do it say ‘Sure, we will do this but it will be XXX dollars more.’ Don't manipulate, please.” 50
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  52. 52. • BRDs and specs are dead but sharing information is not. • “Dare to innovate... but for goodness sake, document what you are doing.” • Annotate wires for: • MVP, V2, V3, etc • Conditional logic • Flows stemming from links / buttons that are not designed • Where to pull data from • Create workflows for the wires. • Create swimlane diagrams of epics (multi-channel product). • Create user stories (include a column for what pages are hit in that story). • Create journey maps to give that high level view of your customer. 52
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  54. 54. • Don’t wait until a big milestone to share work product. • Waste time & money. • Increases aggravation & frustration. • Share link to the live wires or visual design so I can see the current state of wires at all times. • If client sees something that is not right, they can correct it early. • Annotate wires (yellow box) with questions or use placeholders for things you haven’t done yet. 54
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  56. 56. • If the client is wrong, tell them. This is why you were hired. • “In general being told, with convincing explanations and alternative solutions, that my ideas are not the best for my business goals. I love to learn from savvy and focused vendors who have my business success and value for money at heart. This is pretty sure fire way to get repeat business.” • Push the client to think about new technologies, workflows, designs. • Clients typically have far superior mental models about their business than their customers do. Ask “but is that realistic for your customer?” 56
  57. 57. VENDOR DO’S: 1. Over-Communicate 2. Follow SOW / instructions 3. Incorporate feedback 4. Deliver high-quality work 5. Take constructive criticism 6. Set clear expectations about milestones and deliverables. 7. Respond promptly 8. Create original ideas 9. Hit the ground running 10. Say “we” VENDOR DON’TS: 1. Miss deadlines 2. Exaggerate experience 3. Be a PITA 4. Skip project management 5. Charge client for your mistakes 6. Freak out about scope / SOW changes 7. Over-commit & under deliver 8. Forget the details 9. Keep client in the dark 10. Say yes to everything client says 57
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  59. 59. Be honest. Be transparent. Be professional. Do your homework. Bring me expertise I don't have. Don’t be this dude. 59

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