09 Apr 2018
I have seen clients and agencies going through trouble because of different expectations about the nature of the work to be done.
This is despite having discussed the engagement for weeks, going through RFP, pitching and even signing a contract and a statement of work.
Why? Mostly because it’s common that the people driving those processes is less or not at all involved during the project. Handovers are imperfect and information is lost.
Here’s a spectrum of uncertainty, from more to less, seen from the client’s perspective:
It goes from strategy work at the top, to finding a possible solution to a problem, to delivering a specific solution, to delivering a part of a specific solution (design for example).
There is nothing inherently good or bad with any of those options. All the work alongside that spectrum needs doing by one team or another.
The problem is when there is a mismatch of expectations.
Imagine as a client you want support from an agency to build a solution that you are confident about, but the agency keeps coming back with plans to validate whether that’s the right solution in the first place. You are expecting the agency to get down to business and deliver at pace while the agency is spending time with user and market research.
Or the other way around. Imagine a client that knows it has a problem but is not entirely sure what the solution could be. Maybe an app, maybe a site… they don’t know. But the agency keeps asking for a prioritised and detailed backlog of features to implement, including comprehensive acceptance criteria for each story.
To avoid this mismatch of expectations I would encourage you not only to double check with your client during pitch process, but also make sure that the team that will deliver the product checks again when the project starts. In fact, every time a person joins the project, as part of their on-boarding process. This is something that ustwo team coaches always keep an eye on and has saved us from many headaches.
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