Are you looking to have a new website or e-commerce site designed? Or does your current site need an update? Then you’ll need to find a web developer who can help you with this project. Whether you need them to build a brand new site, or just add some functionality to a current site, a web developer is the one you need for your project.
When it comes to finding a web developer, the relationship you have with them is essential. It’s important to find someone you feel comfortable with, someone you can trust, as well communicate with.
It’s not easy, and there are many reasons a relationship between web developers and clients may fall apart. These include lack of communication (that’s one of the biggest issues), missed deadlines, the developer over-promises or under-delivers, the project has a loosely defined scope, bugs or issues aren’t fixed, or the developer may just disappear! It can happen to the best of developers.
To help you find the best web developer for your project, we’ve put together a checklist of items to discuss before the project even starts. Using this checklist when talking with a web developer can help you both avoid some of the common problems we mentioned above. The items on this list are focused on the communication aspect of the relationship. This is what it all comes down to—effective communication.
1). How Will We Communicate?
Here, it’s important to set expectations right from the beginning of the project. The reason is that good communication is the basis of the relationship you build with your web developer. To make sure this essential is created, you both need to agree on how and when to communicate with one another. In the beginning, a couple of phone calls are a great way to see if your personalities work together. If not, then move on to another web developer.
On the other hand, if you seem to have a rapport with one another, then agree on the method of communication, as well as how often and when to get in touch. If you’re not in touch enough, the developer may go off on a tangent, yet you want to avoid micromanaging at the same time.
There are several methods you can use to stay in touch, too. These include Slack, text messages, emails, PM software, phone calls, and more. Just reach a decision on how much communication, the times to call one another, and how to handle problems when they come up.
2). How Will the Project Be Managed?
The goal here is to establish a hub that keeps the project files and everything in one place. This is because project management and communication need to trackable, which means it all needs to be in one place.
The reason is that the developer may ask you to review some files or have a question. This means you’ll need to access those files. Keeping everything in one place, rather than relying on emails or other communication methods means you and the developer can find what you need. Neither of you will have to review past emails for checks on versions, updates, and more. Everything can be handled in one place.
You’ll need to decide if the files will be kept on your network or even in the cloud. If so, the web developer will need access, so you’ll need to establish login credentials for them. Keeping everything in one hub also makes it easy for you to oversee the project. For example, are deadlines being met? Are tasks being completed, and more.
The central hub needs to be a safe place that you and the web developer can access files, track, and meet deadlines. This can be done with SharePoint, Trello, Asana, and other problems. Just choose one and then stick with this throughout the project.
3). Who Makes the Decisions
Each project needs to have a decision-maker who is in charge and able to make the final decision on all aspects of the project. Plus, this person should also have the duty of keeping at least one stakeholder up to date on the project, as well as all essential decisions made. In addition, each decision needs to be recorded in one location (such as in the project hub discussed in the previous section).
The final decision-maker can be an individual, a team, or stakeholder, and more. It’s essential to choose the decision-maker and then let them do their job.
It’s also important when talking with the web developer to establish when you, as the client, are able to give guidance and how many decisions you’ll make. And whether or not you’ll have direct communication with the web developer.
This way, you can keep the project from becoming stalled or dropped. It will also keep the web developer from having to redo work.
4). How Should the Web Developer Handle Assumptions or Smaller Decisions?
The goal here is to help a developer who may see issues with the website. They may want to fix these issues to make the site perform better, and more. So, you’ll need to agree on how the developer is to handle assumptions and smaller decisions. You’ll actually be deciding how much freedom to give the developer. So, this question requires some thought before making a decision.
For instance, should the web developer build the site exactly according to the designs? Or if they notice a small issue, can they go ahead and fix this, without contacting you?
5). What is the Timeline, Project Scope & Payment Structure?
These are also essential questions to ask a web developer before the project starts. The reason is that you want to make sure you both agree on the scope and cost of the project, as well as the timeline. Then you’ll want to check out the contract and what it specifically covers.
Make sure to have a firm grasp on the pay rate, when payment is expected, and what payment methods are accepted.
Having clear communication and expectations can make all the difference between a project that succeeds or fails. So, make sure to find a web developer you can communicate with easily and comfortably. This is the basis of a great project.