5 Tools for Effective Digital Projects

This post was written by Scott Graham, Head of Digital Media at The Big Picture. The Big Picture is a strategic planning, design and advertising firm working from Aberdeen and Glasgow for smart and ambitious clients across the UK and Europe.

5 Tools for Effective Digital Projects

I have been managing the production of digital media projects for over ten years and wish to share with you a selection of handy tools to help manage any digital project, big or small.

The list may seem obvious but in my experience these are the tools most often neglected by developers and designers, to the detriment of themselves and the client.

1: Ears

Never underestimate the importance of using your ears. Many developers go into a their first client meeting already sure of what solution they are going to implement and the approach they will take.  By doing that they stop listening and will fail to pick up on key concerns and opportunities for greatness. The client will end up with something ‘almost right’ and the developer will spend a long time wondering why the client was so underwhelmed with the finished product.

2: Telephone

Far too often, developers will go to great lengths to avoid speaking to the client in person. E-mail, Twitter and Instant Messaging are all fine methods of communicating however they are no substitute for conveying emotion, engendering trust and building a long-term professional relationship.

At the very least, always use the phone for:

  • Letting the client know if something has not gone to plan
  • Letting the client know something has gone exactly to plan
  • Letting the client know they owe you more money
  • Letting the client know the deadline has to move
3: Honesty & Integrity

You are all nice guys and gals right? Of course you are but it’s worth pointing out how important it is to be consistently honest in all your activities. Sometimes the worst happens – servers die, data corrupts, people get ill. I have always found the best policy is always to be straight with clients if projects veer off course.  A little bending of the truth may get you out of a temporary hole but in the long-term, the truth will out and your reputation will be damaged. A reputation for honesty will get you repeat work, good word-of-mouth and sleep-filled nights.

4: A Clock

Developers need to monitor their time and then place a value on it. Doing work for free or for next to nothing ‘just to get it in the door’ benefits no-one. Just because you enjoy your job does not mean you should work all the hours and not get paid for the effort. Get a clock and bill your time at a reasonable rate.

5: The word ‘No’

Clients will always want every bell and whistle they can wrangle from you and unless you are firm, they will be surprised if you don’t deliver.  Manage expectations at the outset by being clear about what is within their budget and what is good practice.  You will win a lot more business with a reputation for sticking to agreed budgets and not making rash promises.

I hope my little list has been of some use to you, even if only to refresh your memory.

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