Honesty is definitely the best policy when it comes to preparing for a redesign. Frank conversations are the key to getting you started on the right foot.
Believe it or not, it's time to start thinking about your 2017 digital project. Whether you’re considering a quick refresh or a complete redesign and CMS change, it takes a while to build consensus, confirm a budget, write an RFP, and choose a partner, so you can greet the new year with purpose and enthusiasm for what’s to come. This is actually a really good time to start.
Fastspot has written a white paper with lots of advice and best practices regarding the selection of a creative partner, and you can download it here. The white paper gets into all the details of what to do before you write an RFP, what to include in the RFP, and how to evaluate responses.
But there is one more thing that keeps coming back to mind as I think about clients and friends who are going through this process, and that's being honest. Even a simple website project can sometimes come with its own challenges, and having open conversations going in will help you get through it.
Be honest with yourself about what you’re expecting from this project and what you’re prepared to give to it.
If you’re going to be spearheading a digital project, it’s a good bet that doing so is going to require rearranging and delegating existing priorities. It’s never too soon to start thinking about how you’re going to make this work. Who can you call on for help? What can be handled now, to clear some time in next year’s schedule?
Be honest with your team about what it’s going to take to complete the project that you’re considering.
Don’t allude to a three month timeline when nine is more realistic. Don’t let your colleagues assume there won’t be much to do if you’re actually expecting help with some heavy lifting. Rose-colored glasses will only come back and bite you. Instead, give your team the opportunity to do their own planning and preparation with clear eyes.
Be honest with potential vendors.
This might be the hardest of all. It’s not unusual or inappropriate for you to want to play your cards close to the vest, rather than sharing the budget that you have to work with, or the timeline you’re expecting. But the less you share, the more I’m guessing about what might be right for you. In the end, it doesn’t help anyone. For me, a really open, honest conversation about opportunities and challenges is one of the best indicators that the person I’m talking to would be a really great client.
From the other side of the table, I’ll always extend you the same courtesy. I’m not going to tell you that we can do a $200,000 project for $50,000. I won’t agree to a timeline if I know we don’t have the resources available to make it work. I’ll never promise one thing just to sign a contract with you and then sing a new song once we get started.
The reality is that digital projects can be time-consuming and challenging. There are lot of expectations wrapped up in them, and a lot of emotions, too. I believe the right starting point is to put it all out on the table and begin the project as you (and we) would expect to continue: with frank conversation and open minds. That’s how we get to the hard work, the good work, and the great results.