Malacandra.me

1stWebDesigner’s Life #8 – Amnesia and Volunteer

Hello there! Here we are again to laugh on our own stories. Our Webster superhero (bought life by Jamie Sale) is in trouble again and we’re here to help.

Ok, we’re not going to help him but we’ll at least learn by his mistakes smile

These two particular stories happened to me quite a few times. And funny enough that mostly happened while I was working in a regular job, as an employee.

Amnesia

Volunteer

How to refresh client’s memory

On this topic we have a lot to learn with Support guys. If you worked on / with a big company whenever you need help you’ll need to open a ticket. I often hear people saying things like “Oh gosh, I have to open a ticked just to get a new mouse pad, that’s awful”, but we all should be using such systems.

Be it big or small changes you’ll always need to write it down and make sure you have how to prove that client requested that. Also, writing every request is good because you can show you are aggregating value to the final product. Here is a few advantages:

  • You won’t lose track of what needs to be done, and which items has higher priority than others
  • You can remember if client asks you why have you changed links color from #ea9821 to #e05415 2 moths ago. You’ll know where everything is and why you have done it
  • You’ll actually feel that you are doing something important. When we work all day long doing small tasks sometimes is common this lack of sense of accomplishment.
  • You’ll promptly know which client is draining your resources and which one is not. That’s good for business so you’ll know your 80/20.

But this is especially bad when you are working as an employee. Boss will ask you million things and forget 90% of them. A good tip is to keep track of those requests via email (since I doubt you’ll make your boss to open tickets to have you doing stuff). At least you have how to simply re-forward him his request and avoid a lot of headaches.

Open 24 hours

Deadlines, who doesn’t love them? smile

I don’t.

I mean, if they are used how it should be they are great. But right now they are mostly a guess made by someone who doesn’t have a clue on how long does it takes to do things. “Wait, but I set my own deadlines”, yeah, and you are doing it wrong (don’t worry, so do I!).

We often forget about how long does it take to do simple things. So if someone asks you to add new feature to the project, when you estimate how long does it takes you remember that you’ll need to:

  1. Write code
  2. Test
  3. Close issue

But often you forget that actually you’ll need to:

  1. Turn on your PC
  2. Re-read the scope
  3. Open the right files
  4. Google your code x better options
  5. Find the best solution
  6. Test
  7. Change
  8. Re-Test
  9. Test on IE
  10. Change again
  11. Document new code
  12. Close the issue.

Ok, we are not the #1 people to set deadlines, but what this has to do with that stripe? That was all client’s fault, right?!  Yes, it is, but if we (experts) often can’t set realistic deadlines, you can imagine what a great job the client will do. He just wants things done as quick as possible, and if needed he’ll ask you to work overnight and why not, on weekends.

What you can do is to show him that you actually don’t work 24×7 (and if that’s really needed, charge at least a much higher rate) AND it takes a lot more of work to do than it seems. I know that client won’t understand this at first, but if you have a good relationship at some point he may even understand that you need to have social life smile