For a freelance web designer the best way to manage his activity is to be multi-tasks and autonomous. It’s easy to think that his day of work starts with the Photoshop opening and ends with closing.
But it has nothing to do with this point of view. In fact the web designer will have to execute several steps without links. That’s means he will time to time wear different responsibilities like salesman, accountant, recruiting officer, and sometimes storekeeper!
But for the freelance web designers the worst task is the project management. If you don’t care on it your projects will be a real disaster and it will be bring you disappointments and break down your mood.
In collaboration with my most original customers, we selected 10 important events regarding the management of your projects, with these 10 events , you will be able to evaluate your capacities. Some of them look like basic, simple or natural, but widely using them will help you to manage your projects like a high professional.
Choice of customers
Usually, your experiment brings you the feeling to make the difference between good and bad projects, reading for the first time a customer request, talking with him by phone, reading a mail. In case you do not get a good feeling, I recommend, you do not enter in project, instead working on it without any motivation. Selection of customers is not luxury; it avoids you to work with ulterior hard and difficult relationships with conflicts.
Tasks to define
When starting a project, it is important to get a fix. I recommend you to put on a paper the most important tasks which will give rhythm assignment from the first to the last step. This paper will help you to define your schedules, your needs as competences and technical levels, and especially to get finally for the first time, a complete digest overview of your project.
Sometimes we would like to bypass these wretched papers, out of age and not really interesting. The quotation, contract, invoice are even documents defining officially the tasks and commitment of each part. Then, take care about details and definition of them, because in case of conflicts, only information described and validated on these documents will make the difference. As a matter of course, validity of these documents is defined by the signature of both parts.
Managing your time
Use your tasks paper (Chapter 2) and the book of specifications to define a schedule. Do not forget to let improve it by all contributors of this project. Prefer to increase time tasks instead to reduce them. In fact, it will be easier to convince your customer to postpone for one more week the delivery date or deadline, instead you give him a date according to his wishes and later to apologize you are not able to respect the contractual delay.
Follow up Project
Do not rule out of the schedule and out of your tasks paper (Chapter 2). You are not allowed to take by yourself this type of liberty. Then do it only in case of urgent need like missing of one of the workgroup, coming across a high technical problem, etc…,all updates requested by your customer is not a necessity, up to you to let him know, it is impossible to apply.
Reactivity and availability
Make all your possible to be reached by your customer, working with a mobile able to receive emails or communicate your mobile number to your customer. When you get messages from your customers, let appears your reactivity as well as your availability, it is well appreciated. But take care to calm down, all customers trying to take news every 2 hours. In this situation, do not hesitate to schedule meetings on phone.
Self-assurance and firmness
The business acquaintances with your customers are often unique, and each of your customers is waiting on a particular involved of you. However, you have to be optimist in your speeches. It is also important you never forget your position of professional contributor; then you have to adjust your customer brain when you see that his requests is out of meaning with the rules of the project and it disturb you to go ahead.
Resolution of conflicts
It is important to consider the general atmosphere, checking the different contributors of the project. In case you get previews feelings of conflicts, be the fist one to try to defuse them. In opposite, this type of situation can bring you in a bad position: a bad atmosphere in the work, which result of fall of productivity or the worst, the destroy of a member of your workgroup, finishing leaving the project.
Politeness and good mood
Previously, you saw that it is important to be optimist during your exchanges, but I will complete it, saying that is it also important to have always a good mood, one of the reason of it, it is to keep a good atmosphere by your staff. During your meetings, it is important too to appear in a good form, to give a good self-assurance, your customers do not worry and to be relieved on your competences and on the accomplishment of the project.
You have just seen the greatness to establish a trustworthy atmosphere with a good mood during the management of a project, it is your job, but you do not have to forget you are in a professional situation; then take care to validate all of the following points: Always take a fair speech with your contacts, be real, do not contradict yourself and never lie, in your correspondence (letters, mails), look after your spelling as well as after the politeness syntax, your clothing must be clean and perfect.
You understood, project manager in not always an easy quiet job. As freelance web designer you have this function to take. These 10 advices will help you to manage your projects, as well as avoiding all traps able to make you lose time.
You will have to read and understand each of these advices, and also to be able to change and update them to match at best to the different situations you will meet during your professional activity.
By Julien DEBOVE