Beware intimidation and gauge your time properly.
When you meet individuals who push you to finish up a project, there are repercussions to quick fixes and getting it done fast.
We’ve all seen this.
I've heard it multiple times before, from consultant to consultant, from company to company, and employee to manager.
When software needs programmed, a network needs adjusted, or a web site needs designed, an estimate is usually required to determine how many hours the project will take. The consultant asks questions upon questions to understand the clients’ dilemma and writes up an estimate. After the estimate is completed, its handed to the contact and the contact asks one of two questions (or both):
- Why is it this much money?
- How long will it take?
Some clients expect results to be delivered yesterday (and who doesn’t). I understand this is the Digital Age of our time. We expect the instant gratification since the Internet has spoiled us and it seems it’s overflowing into most, if not all, of our real-world projects.
I’ve seen clients who point a finger at a monitor and shout to their web designer, “I want that!” The designer proceeds to do a “File/Save As…” and save the complete web page to a directory. The web designer takes the pages and adds a couple of pictures, changes the summary on the page and Voila! Instant company web page template. The client thinks, “Is that all there is to make a web site?” BAM! The trap is sprung.
If you are a company or individual developing a blog, sure, this type of scenario will be perfect for you. Heck, in 10-30 minutes, you can have a blog to start discussing anything you want. Complete with pictures and logos of your company.
However, if you want more functionality from a web site and you think it isn’t necessary to hire a web designer based on what you’ve already seen, then you may need to do some more research. There are entire books out there on documenting and preparing web sites properly, including writing creative briefs, technical briefs, wireframing, and storyboarding. And that’s before ANY coding is even started. Some books I would recommend:
- Web ReDesign 2.0: Workflow that Works
- Collaborative Web Development: Strategies and Best Practices for Web Teams
- Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites
- Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Some project managers I've heard about don't care what it takes and want an enhancement added to the web site right now, so they do one of two things:
- Throw additional people at the project, hoping it will be completed faster.
- Intimidate the existing engineers to get the project completed quicker.
For those of us on the plane of reality, adding additional people to the project will incur some interesting results, such as ramp up time for the new developers, installation of new software, review of objectives, etc.
If managers are using the "more people is faster" tactic, just remember:
You can't have a baby in 1 month with 9 pregnant women.
The project may take some time to accomplish. If you've written programs, maintained networks, or designed/developed web sites long enough, you will be able to provide a good estimate, along with a project plan, and tell the contact that your estimate is your estimate and should trust your judgement.