Fire Your Clients - How to train clients in to playing nice, or get rid of them
Facilitated by Evan Henshaw-Plath, protest.net
Consulting horror story group therapy session. When are you better off without a client? When is it to much? How to tell early on if a client is best left to other consultants? Is it possible to turn a client from bad to good?
- Go around and introduce ourselves
- Clients ranges from nonprofits to corporate clients, to being a tech partner
- Some support clients for a long time and some have more desecrate end points
- Poor communication and disorganization is a red flag
- Changing mind and scope creep is a red flag
- The feeling out period is difficult to assess whether they are a good partner
- Deposits are really good things
- Not moving on to another phase until you got paid for the last one.
- Statement of work and master service agreement
- Some bill every 2 weeks, some bill monthly, some bill at end of project
- Long term clients are clients that trust you
- Retainers are good and promote good behavior
- Getting retainers is a privilege for good clients
- Client selection criteria = how long does their staff last?
- Having the confidence to draw your line in the sand and stick to it
- The higher the rate, the easier the client is
- Setting expectations about budget, cutting scope, timelines slipping, etc. is really important
- Sometimes fire clients over bad politics, and sometimes over PM issues
- The more funding a project has, often the more useless the project is
- One red flag is when you can tell that your client doesn't value your work.
- Nitpicking about the bill is often about not valuing work
- Not valuing time is also bad news
- Switching project managers can be a really good tactic to change the dynamic with a client that has gone sour
- New client document - describes how the shop does work - expectations, procedures, our responsibilities, your responsibilities, etc. It is kind of a contract, but people don't think it is.
- A contract is only as powerful as your enforcement
- Copyright, IP stuff is probably most important
- Write down methods and process if scope isn't fixed.
- Not noticing scope change leads to problems
- First deposit covers last invoice. Bill on two week pay period
- When it is over, it is over
- Don't do any work after you break the news that it isn't going to work.
- Lots of relationship metaphors flying
- 2 week trial period at the beginning to test our process and design is really helpful
- Agile is really good for big projects with a lot of money
- Estimating build when you don't have fully fleshed out design is tough.
- Outside needs analysis is often problematic
- Communication, documentation and setting ground rules with client
- Sadness is a bad sign