Designers on the Front Lines

One of the things I’m going to miss from my commute between Brighton and Tunbridge Wells is the podcasts. I'm not saying I have to stop listening, but the spare time afforded me a great opportunity to catch up. There’s a large list of shows which I should highlight at some point but one of my favourites is Andy Clarke and Anna Debenham’s Unfinished Business.

Listening last night, Andy said something that made me yell a Partridge-esque ‘Absa-bloody-exactly’ about setting expectations. He emphasised the important of setting them at the first meeting and definitely before any contracts are drawn up.

A client hires us because we have a skill set they don’t have. We must correctly tell them how we’re going to go about identifying and solving their problems. If they don't like our methods, we should politely recommend another designer/developer/agency rather than start a project that is going to leave the team, client, and end users frustrated and disillusioned.

Talk to clients about what you love

If we clearly and correctly inform the client from the beginning about our processes, whether Agile, Waterfall or a hybrid of the two, and back these decisions up with professionalism, experience and passion, a client cannot be anything other than impressed and reassured.

We have to end the days of sales teams venturing out on their own, clients want to meet the individuals that will be getting their hands dirty, they want to know how we'll go about it and why we make the decisions we do. This is the only way they'll be able to decide if your organisation is the right fit for them and vice versa.

Designers - it’s not enough to expect other colleagues to deal with clients anymore. You have to own the product you’re designing.