It’s a cornerstone of all relationship building, whether it’s personal or business: communication is the most important tool you have at your disposal. You should have a plan to communicate with your designer from the instant the paperwork is signed and ground is broke.
Set a Meeting Schedule
Establishing a rhythm of meetings over the development process will help to give peace to mind to both participants. As I feel it’s common for people to not enjoy having someone constantly over their shoulder while they work, I feel it’s common for an employer to need to be kept in the loop on all aspects of the project. With the formation of a schedule you both agree to you are lifting a level of white noise tension that could dog the development from start to finish.
Always Make Yourself Available to Talk
Never make yourself appear difficult to reach, or to talk with. I feel, as a freelancer, this is one of the most potent pieces of advice I can provide you with. If you appear gruff, short-tempered or generally make yourself hard to reach your project will suffer. An employee or freelancer will make mistakes, run into issues and other unforeseen problems along the way and likely you’ll find them willing to make sacrifices because they prefer not to reach out, or can’t because you are not there.
Provide them with multiple means of reaching you. A minimum of your most commonly reached phone number and e-mail will go a long way to ensuring your availability. Don’t let messages sit unanswered for longer than 12 hours (if possible) and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if something doesn’t make sense to you. It’s better to be honest about your lack of understanding than to “just go with it”.
Don’t Badger Your Designer
If your designer is meeting your goals and attending the agreed upon meetings I cannot stress this enough: do not badger your them. Part of the reason that a project plan is drawn up is to ensure that your designer knows what to do. If you find yourself with last minute “to-do’s” you need to address those at meetings, and not pepper them throughout the time between meetings.
Your designer will understand that there are some things you can’t always plan for. Most will be willing to take the additional tasks for you. However, be aware that if it becomes a common occurrence it will result in you incurring additional costs, longer development times and heightening the possibility your designer will leave the project.
However, if you find your employee isn’t living up to their goals and they’re failing to communicate you may find yourself in a situation where you have to decide whether or not it’s time to cut ties. We’ll tackle that in two weeks.