Communicate first, meet deadlines second
Better to talk with your client every day and miss your deadlines than to meet your deadlines and never pick up the phone.
Many times over the years I have learned the lesson above. The power of the check-in call is undeniable from my point of view. Several times, during busy seasons, we have met deadlines and under-spent on budgets, yet still frustrated our clients. This happened because we didn’t stay in regular communication.
On the other hand, many times have we had regular phone, email or IM interactions, missed deadlines and botched things generally, and still had happy clients.
The nature of our work is solitary. Many of us who code websites or software are by nature introverted. We prefer to put our heads down and just get the work done. Our clients are often not introverted though. So many of them like regular contact. And even those clients who are introverted like we are much appreciate the assurance of a check-in.
Somehow this post makes me think of the power of Twitter. Even if I just have a thought about a client’s project, yet can’t touch it for a few more days, a little tweet about that simple thought is music to everyone’s ears.
Post script: I'm not very good at following my own advice.