Over the last few years after seeing hundreds of projects come through my company – if I have learned one thing – it is that defining the problem is half the battle.
So many times people will send over “documentation” which can sometimes be in the form of a mockup, an email, or a full blown specifications document. Most of the time the most difficult part of the project is extracting exactly what the client is looking for and not how to properly implement it. The client might even write one thing and actually mean something else so I always make sure to have the client clearly define what it is that they want. If they cannot clearly define something – how can you define the project or even the project’s success?
All I can recommend is that before getting into a project – make sure the client can clearly (in writing) state what they want as well as how to test it (you may need to help them a little). By having both the client define what it is that they want and how we can test it (to meet the end goal) – you can then reference the what and show them the how – using their own words thus showing them they got exactly what they originally wanted.
Above all…documentation is king.
I have been extremely busy with two particular projects in the last few weeks. One – a major site optimization and the other – a custom bbPress solution which has had me reading through the functions at all hours of the day to figure out exactly what is available to me and then how to implement it. I first started using bbPress at version 0.7 (same version as I started playing around with WordPress) and even though bbPress has matured to 0.9.x – the documentation is scarce so simple things I am used to accomplishing with WordPress (mainly custom queries) has been a challenge. I am almost done with the bbPress project which I will highlight as soon as it is up and ready to go. Overall – I have been really busy, but I have been working on great projects and have a lot of future posts planned out that will discuss some of what I learned.